There’s a feeling that I don’t think I’ve ever heard a name for, but it exists. It’s the feeling you feel when you’re driving around in the first car that you were ever able to drive around your town in (whether it was your parents’ car, one your grandparents gave to you, or one you managed to purchase for yourself, doesn’t really matter).
And when you did this, you put in a cassette, a CD, a CD-R, or you plugged an Aux cable, whatever was appropriate for your generation. Hell, at times, for me it was a boom box in the passenger seat. The important thing is, you picked the music. Then you drove. You didn’t have a destination, at least not one that was in any way important. What mattered was that you were moving, you picked the music, and you felt that unnamable feeling that nothing mattered, that everything mattered, and that you were, as far as that moment was concerned, free.
It’s that feeling that classic teen movies exemplified. It was the cool that actors like John Cusack and Christian Slater portrayed. And it’s the feeling that washes over me when I listen to Jacket.’s album, Volume 1: Dream. The album is, front to back, a lovingly crafted homage, not specifically to the sounds of the 80’s but to that unnamed feeling that so much music and media of the 80s tried to express. The production value isn’t tied down to any specific era but takes inspiration from many different ones.
But with such subtly intense rhythms, hopeful yet yearning melodies, and vibrant vocals by a great cast of collaborators and jacket. himself, each song promises that we will face down great odds, we will struggle against them, we will somehow win out, and we will be better people for the experience.
It’s strange that such a narrative is considered nostalgic but listening to this album takes me to a simpler place and time where it felt like everything I felt was so important but that everything would be okay.
In addition to a few instrumentals (one in conjunction with Shadowrunner), vocalists Dreddbeat, Mayah Camara, Oceanside85, and The Last Years all understood the assignment while bringing their own unique styles to the project. Dreddbeat’s September Kids is a defiant anthem.
Phoenix features Mayah Camara singing a beautiful ballad of overcoming. Oceanside85’s vocals on the torchy Lose You simply soar. Drew Gown of The Lost Years provides the haunting vocals on Alive, awash in reverb and emotion.
Those collaborators alone would be enough to make a great album but, in my opinion, the secret weapon on Dream is jacket.’s vocal performance on the opener, Waves, and Call, a collaboration with Diamond Ace. His vocals give those songs such a feeling of beautiful ache.
When this album finds the audience it deserves, I have no doubt jacket. will be getting half of his e-mails from singers who want him to produce a track for them and the other half from producers who want him to lend his smoky, passionate vocals to their tracks.
Ultimately, it all adds up to an album that is so diverse in its sounds, thanks to the different vocalists, but it maintains that yearning hope and a smooth sonic cohesion throughout.
For best listening results, I recommend getting the CD, a car, and a moonlit night. Start at track one and keep driving until you run out of gas or road. It’s not going to solve every problem in the world, but for a little bit, you’ll feel young and you’ll feel free.