Crazy Game of Phobias – JATA (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It is fairly easy to see where JATA is coming from, by that I mean that from listening to this latest album you could make an educated guess at the sort of albums that you might find in his record collection. But, as always, it is not about where music comes from, it is about where that artist is taking it and that is definitely the case here.

The ghosts of iconic synth-pop and electronica pioneers hang over the music, the infectiousness and buoyancy of early Depeche Mode, the darker tones that bands like Interpol and Editors brought to the genre, and the edge and ethereality of more recent artists such as Blonde Redhead added to the canon, for sure. But JATA sits at the end of that evolutionary line, taking something from each and turning familiar traits into fresh and unique sonic creation. Standing on the shoulders of giants indeed!

And if the title track, which kicks things off, is all about digital groove and waves of shimmering sonics, Miss You, which follows, is the perfect attractive opposite, a stripped-back ballad, driven by minimal beats and musical understatement. The Same Page is lingering and languid and the final track, Don’t Blame Yourself, is rich and anthemic without being boisterous or bombastic, ebbing and flowing between dynamic highs and lows through a blend of grace and groove.

The reason that people such as JATA work in such musical genres is, despite the scene being a much mined sonic seem, there is still plenty of work to be done, still gems to be uncovered and gold to be found. There are still sonic sub-realms to explore, new digital worlds to conquer, still space for new ideas to pulse and percolate. And with Crazy Game of Phobias JATA has taken on board such an ethos and attitude and really made it his own.

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