Jay Arner, Jay Arner

Stephen M. Deusner

By Stephen M. Deusner

on 06.25.13 in Reviews
Vancouver producer goes solo with slow-burn debut

Jay Arner’s self-titled solo debut begins with a low bass groove that sounds like an engine idling, ready to rev “Midnight on South Granville” into high gear. To say the song never bolts away is no complaint, though, as the lyrics recount a night spent catching the bus, missing your stop, getting lost and wandering aimlessly. Set against that chugging bass line, those buzzy synths and that stoner guitar, half-drunk anomie has rarely sounded quite so epic. A Vancouver-based musician who has helmed albums by Mount Eerie, Apollo Ghosts and Rose Melberg, Arner recorded these new songs during lonely sessions at his practice space, recording straight to laptop to emphasize a DIY mid-fi sound, and the resulting Jay Arner mixes mopey postpunk instrumentation with power-pop song structures. Even though the unhurried tempos are far too laidback to sell the “power” in the pop, that spacey, narcotized vibe can be deceptive: The music reveals new sonic and lyrical details with each listen, whether it’s the M.C. Escher hook on “Broken Glass” or the world-weary cautions of “Nightclubs,” which finds a tricky balance between wry and romantic.