Nite Jewel- Am I Real? EP Nite Jewel- Am I Real? EP

Nite Jewel- Am I Real? EP

Nite Jewel- Am I Real? EP

It’s not much of a secret of late that the 80’s are back- even stating this seems somewhat outdated. Indeed it’s odd that we’ve already tired of the same decade twice. But I digress. The point is that recently artists such as Hot Chip, LCD Soundsystem….heck, DFA as a label, have consciously geared their sound towards the years of glam and electro. From another angle, recent years have seen a rise in popularity for the genres of kosmische and to a lesser extent krautrock. Emeralds, Oneohtrix Point Never, Fujiya & Miyagi….the wealth of artists is out there. Late 2009/early 2010 even saw the spawning of the genre “Chillwave”, which like indie is a detestable term but exists because everyone knows exactly what type of music you’re talking about when you use it. Toro Y Moi and Neon Indian have been at the forefront of this blissed out, dreamy electronic sound, or if you like- a modern 80’s sound.

So it’s been, it’s gone, and it’s out there. It’s with this in mind that I find myself listening to Am I Real? It isn’t a bad EP, certainly. Ramona Gonzales’ voice has a Debbie Harry meets Kate Bush swagger about it which whatever you think of it, is impossible to ignore when listening to this EP. It’s impossible to ignore, but she doesn’t make it easy.

The problem with Am I Real? Is generally speaking the instrumentation. See the synth blasts during “White Lies”; as if assault via synth is just what’s needed to immediately transport us back to those carefree dancefloor days of the 1980’s- A decade in which, let’s face it, no-one listening to Nite Jewel will have existed in. To put it another way; it’s all too aware of itself. Gonzales seems to know that she’s going straight after the hazy sound of contemporaries  like Sally Shapiro and Toro Y Moi, and seems to have made great efforts to make Am I Real? Sound like the genuine knockoff article. Too often her perfectly up to the task voice gets lost amongst electro that’s fighting a bit too hard to be heard.

As I mentioned at the start of the article, there’s no shortage of people already doing this sort of stuff. So by extension, you’ll feel like you’ve heard a lot of this before, and you have. As such, Am I Real? Is by and large an EP that you’ll struggle to find reason to come back to. I state again; this is not a bad EP, and it’s very easy to get lost in the retro coziness that Gonzales and co. offer here. But after the half an hour is up, you go about your daily business, come back home and decide to put some tunes on- is this what you’ll be immediately reaching for? Certainly not if  “Forget You & I” or “Falling Far” are anything to go by. That said, opener “Another Horizon” is a curiously enjoyable listen. Although those synth shocks are still far too loud for their own good……gonzales’ alongside programmed beats and handclapped drums together with those very retro guitar licks every now and then is brilliant. So too with closer “Am I Real?. Woozy synths are good, but we all know a bit of slap bass makes up for any shortcomings.

Am I Real? Is a promising EP. With time and a changing music scene, Nite Jewel may yet prove a staple in music libraries everywhere. The question remains though: With so many people doing this sort of thing already, and better- why Nite Jewel?

Nite Jewel- Am I Real? EP, reviewed by Lemon on 2010-09-28T14:31:01-07:00 rating 3.0 out of 5

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