Jared Cole is working hard to defy classifications. The part-time promoter and barfly has recently released a debut album, Virginiahead,
that careens from emo to folk, rock, and post-punk, all with a DIY lo-fi sound. Much of the album centers on basement electronic tinkering and acoustic guitar work that supports the, at times, awkward vocal ramblings of Cole. Many of the tunes are sung out of pitch, but you quickly get the feeling this Margate-based musician could care less about tone and harmony. He's got a message to get across, and it's your
fault if you can't keep up with his train of thought. His approach to production doesn't follow any particular roadmaps either; he feels it, he does it, and he's done. Sometimes, this works, and other times it's way
off base. On the tune "Rollin," the songwriting here is as simple as can be; Cole's on E, he's rollin' hard, and he's rollin' good. So the lyrics reflect that. Since he's tripping, he might as well concentrate on the instrumentation behind the song and let the words flow freely. It's a more genuine approach to making music than most cookie-cutter material on record shelves, so more power to him. There are other moments on Virginiahead
, however, that do not work out conceptually and listeners will end up feeling isolated. What stands out overall is Cole's deft guitar playing; songs like "Sleep" and "Noggin 1.5" resonate with the emotion of early Simon & Garfunkel recordings. And to further attest to the backpacker ethos surrounding this 18-track LP, there are only a hundred of these suckers floating around, each one autographed and numbered personally. And Cole literally pulls it out of his backpack and signs it in front of you. That's a nice touch, but check out www.myspace.com/jaredcolemusic
to get your hands on a fresh batch.