Nick Jaina added a full length album to an already impressive and diverse portfolio of sound in April of this year. Primary Perception joined a repertoire of 8 albums (available on bandcamp), multiple scores for theater, dance, and film, and a collection of prose and poetry. Taking into account his many diverse talents and works,Primary Perception is surprisingly focused and cohesive.
According to Jaina, the theme of the album is the duality of human emotion - having the ability to think and make decisions based on feelings, versus uncontrollable or immediate actions out born out of passion in a given moment. The finished work may seem like typical singer/songwriter fare at first, but talented musicians come together to form a release that is intricate without being overbearing.
Listeners may be surprised that individuals from the Fruit Bats, Portland Cello Project, and Menomena are some of the folks that lend Jaina their talent on the project. The record opens with "I'll Become Anything" which essentially sets the tone for the remaining minutes of Perception. It is exactly what one would expect to hear when they pick up a songwriter's release; soft and reassuring vocally, with subtle harmonies on the refrains. Tracks like ‘I’ll Become Anything” (see also: "True Hearts are International as War", "All the Best Fakers") represent calculated and stewing emotions in the context of Jaina's thesis, while attention grabbing numbers like "I'll Do the Time" and "Expense Reports" account for emotion in the present. Jaina seems to snap us out of a feel-good lull eight minutes in by beginning with a sharp electric riff and the commanding opening lines "be precious, be pretty, if the sky could be better/be lost, be in doubt, be a signed mission letter/I'll do the time". The sharp and commanding lyrics are paired with jangly piano contrast with the preceding tracks and demands attention.
Primary Perception is a focused and fully developed release. While those looking for great stories with in songs may be left wanting, they are sure to find solace in the unique study of human emotion that inspired Perception to come to fruition. It is not often that science, research, and music come together to create art that we can all understand and appreciate.
7.5 / 10
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