HumourJail – Nails (Me-Time Records)

HumourJail – Nails (Me-Time Records)

Deliciously glitchy electro-infused alt-pop opens Nails, the debut single from HumourJail, which intriguingly blends voice into rhythm on a journey toward melancholic indie rock. 

HumourJailArtist: HumourJail
Track: Nails
Label: Me-Time Records
Released: 15 January 2021
Find it: Bandcamp | Spotify

There are tracks which hit you straight up with who they are, and there are those which unfurl slowly and reveal themselves more coyly as you listen. Nails, the debut single from HumourJail starts like the former, but is actually the latter as it peels from deliciously glitchy electro-infused alt-pop down to swells of melancholic orchestral indie rock.

Perhaps it should be no surprise that we are taken along with the curiosity in rhythm and structure given this is the solo project of Wheezey Jaye from math-rock bands Exploder, and The Guts, but this is an intriguing and compelling listen which leaves no room for complacency born from knowing the heritage.

There’s a vibrato at the depth of the vocal from the off, which intimates the gathering emotion long before the track steps up to meet it, and which stays consistent through what is quite the melodic journey.

We take our first step with simple but nevertheless wonderful snap and shimmer of electronic beats beneath that voice, drawing up the burgeoning melody toward until suddenly we’re in a fully fledged, smooth-edged pop song before we flip again and rawness rakes through the sound, threatening to break us.

The song isn’t even nearly done as it builds toward a peak – there’s nothing so comfortable as a verse/chorus/verse here just multiple switches – which blooms into the sort of orchestral-infused dark indiepop leant heavily on by bloke bands who had nothing much to say back in the ’90s. Here is the natural culmination of emotion conducted with aplomb while the varied form and structure flow without friction, and you realise the place we came in seems so far from where we washed up and yet no distance at all.

‘We’ll drink and we’ll fight and we’ll fuck all night / just to feel that we’re not dead / but we are dead’

As a debut track this is, and this is somewhat of an understatement, brilliant stuff. Introducing an artist who without pretence or affectation is turning a back on hackneyed songwriting tropes, blending styles which could so easily be cliched and rewarding us with something quite complex made to feel effortless, a firm but compassionate hand-hold on a rollercoaster of raw emotions.

As a single it does exactly what it should and leaves you hungry for more, but standing alone right now leaves you no option but to hit repeat and take that first step again knowing the journey which lies ahead.

Nails by HumourJail is out digitally now.

Find HumourJail: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Spotify | Bandcamp

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Sarah Lay

Sarah Lay is editor of Popoptica.
A long-standing music journalist she's also co-founder of independent record label Reckless Yes, an author of novels, and when not messing around with words and music, a digital strategist.
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