17 October 2014

Chicago born Jack Kovacs to release debut EP The State Line

Chicago Jack Kovacs debut EP The State Line

Chicago born Jack Kovacs to release debut EP The State Line

Chicago born Jack Kovacs is a force to be reckoned with on his debut EP "The State Line," due out on October 21st, 2014. A Los Angeles transplant, Jack left the City of Broad Shoulders for the City of Angeles to study guitar performance at the University of Southern California. It was in the midst of musical learning and discovery that his world was opened up to the art of songwriting, forever changing the course of his dreams. His breathtaking, cinematic stories come to life with an experimental edge that makes beautiful use of arrangement and dynamics, effortlessly pulling inspiration from the singer/songwriters of the1970's and today. With Jack counting his influences among iconic artists like Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, as well as Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver; it's easy to understand where the emotional sensibilities originate from. Self produced alongside Tim Kobza, his 2014 release, "The State Line" is full of layered harmonies and present storytelling, designed to connect to the heart and soul of each and every listener.

From the first note, opening track "State Line" is incandescently reminiscent. A song that was inspired by Jack's courage to leave behind everything he knew to follow a dream, you can feel the timidity and uncertainty echoing from each guitar riff and subtle vocal turn. The song is about "the unexpected journey that life sometimes calls you into, in spite of promises you made or visions of your own future," and Jack captures that perfectly. Not to mention the combination of vocalist Huxlee's soaring and soft voice, which collides in perfect cohesion with Jack's warm and personal style, brings the listener that much closer to the music. The playful "Jenny" is an almost autobiographical look into the process of falling in love. The rich and layered arrangement give breath to the youthful and giddy emotions often associated with puppy love, and as the song grows and expands, so does the depth of the feelings.  A toe tapping rhythmic intimacy and rolling piano build a full scale exploration of the journey, concluding with an epic collision of guitars and drums. 

On the harrowingly cryptic "The Empty House," Jack dives deep into the pool of cinematic music. Pulled from the emotional aspects of loss, horror and tragedy, the track inspires a pall of dread with the layers of vocals. Male and female voices (provided by Huxlee, who sings throughout the EP) intertwine together in quiet reverie, while Jack’s hypnotic guitar playing underscores their tale. The lyrics give only the sparest details to invoke a sense of mystery and fear. There's a hauntingly intriguing pull to the song that wraps around the listener, leaving them riveted to the conclusion. The sparse "At Sea" allows the drifting wanderer to find solace in the light of the sun. Of the song itself, Jack says "… the end of the song's journey is not in finding the shores of purpose and meaning, but rather exploring the great nothing with that beautiful light, and the space that is left for dreaming." Recorded with just a microphone, a guitar, and his own voice, it remains a track based entirely in storytelling as it exposes the root of it's creation. Beautiful and languid, it gives hope and shelter to all those seeking their own path. The beautiful opening vocals on "Song of the Summer," which also serves as the EP's first single, allow you to feel those quiet summer days of the past echoing through the guitar riffs and building, expansive chorus. It boarders on the new, woodsier trend in indie rock, though still captures the 1970's feel of carefree abandon that is fluent in so much of Jack's music. The track stands as an ode to all of those summer time anthems from your youth, and the memories that immediately attach themselves to the melody when you hear it.

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