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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Jayar, USA

Jayar - Foreign Soil. 1980 Windlord

We heard from The AC in the Fall of last year, and he sent in a few albums, that I've taken forever to preview. But I finally had a chance to listen to a couple that I'll be featuring here.

The AC informs us: "Jayar was the stage name of guitarist/vocalist Jesse Boleyn, who recorded this album (with a full backing band) in Santa Barbara, California. What we have here is a mixture of singer-songwriter, folk-psych and progressive rock, with an atmosphere somewhat reflective of the late hippie/early new age subculture that permeated California from the mid 70s through the very early 80s. Frankly, it can be hard to keep a straight face through all of the plaintive guitar strumming and quavering, overwrought vocals spinning tales of magical wizards and alien abduction/invasion (a major concern of Mr. Boleyn at the time, it would seem), but there are a few moments of interest, especially in the handful more overtly progressive tracks. "R.E.M." in particular is effective, with its synths, psych-tinged guitar soloing and female vocals. A bit silly overall, but worth a spin for US underground completists."

I listened to this 3 times before actually reading his own synopsis, and I had hoped he would have a review similar to the above. There's a clear Yes like sound to the synthesizers and acoustic guitar chord structures, played over a strange vocal tone, almost like Johnny Cash in its earnestness - as sung by David Gates (Bread). But with varying high and low pitches. There's a bit of a Broadway Play feel to it all. It's a very odd album, though interesting for certain. For a US underground completest is a great way to summarize here. Of which I'm afraid both of us tend to be. No need for a reissue, but a mild curiosity piece for those similar amongst us.

Priority: none

2 comments:

Jesse Boleyn said...

Hello Tom,
I must admit you made me smile when I read your review of "Foreign Soil." I released this record while on tour with Shawn Phillips. An interesting side note is that the 'not yet' legendary Lou Reed and David Bowie guitarist, Chuck Hammer appears on this record. We were roommates together in Santa Barbara at the time. Bowie's "Scary Monsters" LP came right after, which Chuck plays on most notably "Ashes to Ashes." I especially like your reference to the Broadway play approach, as I was considering doing the record as a quasi rock opera. Chuck also appears on my later work "No Gravity." Always interesting to read what others have to say, but your review was spot on for my first effort. Thanks. - Jesse Boleyn

Tom said...

Thank you Jesse for the comment! It's always great to get to know the people behind these interesting artifacts. Thanks for the music!