Jaws Of Love - Tasha Sits Close To The Piano (House Arrest)

Jaws Of Love – Tasha Sits Close To The Piano (House Arrest)

Jaws Of Love is the name of the solo project from Local Natives‘ songwriter, vocalist and pianist Kelcey Ayer, and Tasha Sits Close To The Piano is his solo debut.

As Local Natives geared up to record their third album Sunlit Youth last Summer, Ayer took some studio time himself and spent a fruitful three days recording the skeleton of what would become Tasha…, returning later in the year to layer more sounds onto the tracks, aided by his day-job band’s drummer, Matt Frazier.

The record’s title track (and first single) eases the listener into what is an emotional journey through “love’s trials and tribulations” across ten quite compelling tracks. ‘Jaws Of Love’ (the song) builds slowly but surely, with the organic sound that runs through the album punctuated by some lovely synthscapes and Ayer’s most desolate vocals. It’s a template that works across the record, ‘Lake Tahoe’ again putting the piano into the foreground, creating the perfect backdrop for Ayer’s heartfelt words.

Some of the more (relatively) upbeat tracks, for instance ‘Hawaiian Number Plates’ and ‘Microwaves’ bring to mind the under-appreciated Australian band The Temper Trap, who have that same knack of interesting and hypnotic textures coupled with really good songwriting. It’s a heady concoction.

The piano is central to the record and the way it is recorded is so human and warm; ‘Everything’ is another highlight, a gorgeous chord progression builds and builds and this time is layered with horns, while ‘Love Me Like I’m Gone’ brings in sweet acoustic guitars and is probably the most instant song here.

‘Costa Rica’ finds Ayer opining “Why don’t you believe me when I say I love you?” and is more in torch song territory, while closing epic track ‘Nightlight’ is possibly the greatest song on the album, the otherworldly vocals and beautiful piano lending it a very Robert Wyatt circa Rock Bottom feel. If you are in any doubt about the merits of that, rest assured that this is A Very Good Thing. If it was released by Radiohead it would probably be universally considered to be one of the best songs of the year. Either way, it IS one of the best songs of the year.

Almost 20 years ago now, Chicago songwriter Liam Hayes (aka Plush) released a staggeringly bleak album of piano ballads called More You Becomes You, that got under the skin and demanded to be played over and over – Tasha… is stylistically and sonically in a similar space and is also a very addictive record. It isn’t necessarily an immediate album, but repeated listens reveal a very accomplished and special set of songs.

Tasha Sits Close To The Piano is out now on digital formats and is released on coloured gatefold vinyl by House Arrest on 3rd November.

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