Jay Elle – Ride the Wave
Written by Kevin Tanza on February 24, 2022
Jay Elle is an acoustic guitar player and singer that makes a very interesting mix of Pop, Rock and a bit of Blues, thus making for a unique and singular experience as a listener. And his recent album, Ride the Wave, is definitely worth your time as you are going to discover.
First we have the title track, which is a classic accoustic song that showcases what Jay is all about and he delivers a strong vocal performance. His voice is quite unique in the sense that it is quite soft and warm, relying a lot more on feeling rather than range or variety, but I think that he is quite effective in the former and that allows him to be very good as a singer.
The song Tequila Kiss was actually written for Vampire Diaries actress Nina Dobrev and it is a bit more upbeat than the previous song, with a bit more rhythm changes and nice drum patterns that add a lot to the mix. I’m personally a fan of the guitar parts of Want Me Bad as they add a somewhat dark and haunting feel to what it is a very simply and straightforward song, but it plays to Jay’s strongsuit and I think that is also worth pointing out in the sense that he knows what he can and can’t do as a singer. Also pay attention to some of the electric guitar parts of the song; they really add another layer of intensity to the song.
Miss Mess was the first single and I have to say that I found a bit underwhelming, although I admit that I might not be the target audience for that kind of song. It has some techno elements here and there that don’t work for me, but I could see people that prefer that kind of music enjoying it, although it does have some nice vocal melodies. Meanwhile, I do enjoy the melancholy of Rainy Day and Jay’s vocals, sounding very soft and haunting in some passages of the song.
On the other hand, the heaviest and most upbeat track of the entire album is definitely Insane. It is upbeat and it adds a bit more variety to the album. In fact, I think this would have been a much more appropiate first single and it would have spawned much better reactions from people, but oh, well. Better Luck Next Time maintains that approach and I think this is where the album really starts to reach a very important peak, which is always nice when enjoying a record from start to finish.
One word that I have used a lot to describe Jay Elle’s music in this review is “haunting” and that is exactly what Angeling is. A touching, heartfelt ballad that shows what Jay is all about and a powerful statement of how great music can be with just an acoustic and a sincere vocal performance.
I like that touch of Hammond organ on She’s So Fine and how it connects with the guitar riffs because it shows how little details can be a huge difference in the overall feeling of the album, although I would say the song as a whole never fully takes off. I have a similar perception of Morning Rain, which tries to conjure that emotional and touching experience but never fully does.
Twelve on Sunday, for some reason, works for me, even though I have heard different perceptions of other people. I guess that shows how everybody can have different points of view. Regardless, this song has some slow, mournful touches and it does work as it flows with a lot of feeling. And we end on a good note with Who’s Camille, which is a very similar song to the ones we have heard before as Jay gives the people what they want.
I think Ride the Wave is a nice enough album and it is definitely meant for a very specific audience, but I believe there is a lot of charm and quality in the sense that there is a clear musical focus and direction while adding little touches here and there to make the whole experience a bit more varied. That was a smart decision and it shows how serious Jay Elle is as a musician.
Definitely worth your time.