Rich Jacques has certainly made a name for himself within the music industry. He has worn many hats, that of producer, songwriter, band member, collaborator and musician. But it is as the purveyor of deft and delicate, pastoral pop under his own name that he is riding high these days. Everything Must Change, his latest EP, underlines just how adept he is with such gentle songlines and lightly but purposefully applied sonic colours.
The lead single, of the same name, is an exercise in grace and sentiment, an acknowledgement that the world changes and so must our lives, that evolution is inevitable, and that perhaps change is the only constant. And it is a message that is captured by the video for the song too, a lush travelogue shot on an iPhone 11 Pro. In his own words he says of the song, “For the last year starting in June 2021, I left Montecito CA and became a nomad. This song really became a theme for me. All these places left an imprint, and then eventually they become a memory.” It is a nomadic quest that has seen him explore everywhere from Arizona to Adu Dhabi to Amsterdam and seemingly all points in between.
The opener, Montecito is a hushed and hazy track dedicated to the departure point of his journey, a track built from gentle guitar and banks of sumptuous vocals, given its nature and subject matter, it isn’t hard to hear a slight Beach Boys vibe if they had taken a more ambient, indie route.
And although the vibe of the album remains fairly constant, in that a feeling of serenity and a quest for inner contentment prevails throughout, the songs still manage to explore and expand both snically and spiritually. Can You See It is minimal and understated, Burn Me Down is shot through with smart guitar riffs and pulsing bass urges and New Design has something of the Afro-beat sound running through it. The EP ends with The Stars Above, a song built out of pure emotion, gentle guitar cascades and very little else.
There is much to be learned from this EP. We already knew how great Rich Jacques is at making this sort of music, but here, he opens up his very soul. He shares with us his personal philosophies, his yearnings and needs. He rises above the physical and the human, he reminds us that what makes us who we are is not the things that we might think and it is certainly not the materialistic things or even our sense of location which is important or defining.
Everything Must Change is not only a collection of beautiful songs, it is a repository of important ideas. It is nothing short of a manual on how to set out on the road to awakening and understanding.