Reviews Jon McKiel Jon McKiel

Jon McKiel

Jon McKiel

An old, black-and-white photo depicts five dilapidated homes slowly crumbling away on an island in the middle of a vast, dismal ocean; the sea's endlessness and archaicness adds a sense of sentimentality to the picture. With such a glum album cover, it’s a dazzling surprise once the effervescent, action-packed “New Tracy (I Will Learn To See)” - opening song on singer/songwriter Jon McKiel’s self-titled EP - splashes in like a colossal wave against the dry, gravelly shore.

Compared to 2012’s opiate, lo-fi Dot Dot Dot Dot EP, Jon McKiel is livelier and has cleaner production. McKiel’s mix of vintage garage rock and poignant folk declares him a not-so-distant sonic relative of psych folkers Chad VanGaalen and Circulatory System.

VanGaalen and CS aren’t the only artists in McKiel’s sophisticated vernacular, though. “I Know, I Know” calls upon The Byrds’ seminal acoustic pop rock and the exotic track “Twin Speaks” is painted with harmonies that are insanely similar to those of Fleet Foxes.

It’s cheery most of the time, but the EP relaxes, especially with the somber waltz “Dying All The Time (Tropical Depression).” This is a reworking of Dot Dot Dot Dot’s track of the same name, and it brings a dreary, yet serene essence to Jon McKiel.

I haven’t listened to many extended plays this year, but the ones I have heard are truly stellar. Jon McKiel’s latest work is undoubtedly one of my favorite 2014 EPs.

8.4 / 10Eli Zeger
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8.4 / 10

8.4 / 10

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