Wednesday, September 3, 2008

EP Review: Snider Gives The Green Light

You might expect a 17-year-old singer/songwriter from the suburbs to sing about fake ID’s and how his mom won’t buy him a new cell phone. Of the six songs on Jake Snider’s EP Green Lights For Granted, only “Say Farewell” will meet such expectations. More commonly, you’ll encounter moody masterpieces such as “To The Ocean,” with mind-boggling lines like “I went to see the warriors of virtue with you” and “Breaking open the calluses created by your mind.” How many 17-year-olds are writing lyrics like that and pairing them with beguiling, classically-influenced melodies? Jake’s first professional recording, Green Lights is mostly a collaboration with his buddy Jeff Berman, who handles both bass and drums with equal ease and provides a strong backdrop for Jake’s impressive keyboard work. The tracks generally have a stripped-down sound, although “Early Morning Somewhere” is fleshed out with Jake’s guitar and layered vocals, and the glorious “How?” needs little adornment to cement its position as a sublime slice of jazz-pop. Despite its upbeat musical qualities, “How?” is also the darkest offering on the EP, its lyrics almost disturbing in their portrayal of a man on the brink. While some of Jake’s vocals on Green Lights are a bit rough, his voice is so smooth and robust that with a little work, he should eventually earn his place as one of the great singers of his generation. Lately, Jake has been performing in Philadelphia and the western suburbs where he grew up. If you can make it to a show, you will be in for a treat as Jake jams with his friends and family, plays a wider variety of music than you might expect, and harmonizes superbly with fellow teenaged singer/songwriter Emily Bach. If you can’t make it to a show, get your Jake Snider fix by purchasing Green Lights For Granted on CD Baby or iTunes.

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Copyright © 2008 S.J. Dibai. All rights reserved.

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