PJKTS, otherwise known as Paper Jackets, will release their self titled album on February 10th. Comprised of 14 different tracks, listeners will go on a musical journey that is mostly consistent and full of songs that have its finger on the pulse on what is trendy in today’s top 40 scene.
“Good Love” is a slow to midtempo tune that allows lead singer James Mason’s voice to sparkle. It’s got a worldly feel to it in its instrumentation, while still employing a simple strategy to the entire track. It sounds a bit like something John Mayer could have written and performed but PJKTS make it their own thanks in part to Mason’s delivery, sincere and quiet but also powerful. Towing the line between a pure pop song and something more along the lines of something one would hear on alternative radio stations across the country, PJKTS know how to perfectly combine the two to create their own concoction. It’s extremely catchy, especially on the chorus where Mason sings “I’ve been waiting for good love,” which he repeats in a mock echo fashion. Positive and upbeat it will give listeners hope, which may in fact be the whole point to the song.
Elsewhere on the album “Place in the Water” definitely borrows a bit from the Young the Giant playbook. It has more of an in your face approach, commanding percussion the backbone of the song, but the real star once again is Mason’s voice that balances strong and fragile tones, especially when he reaches for falsetto notes. Possibly the most radio friendly tune on the entire album, it still retains an edge which is greatly appreciated. The track is a high energy one and every beat of the song mimics that in a perfectly produced piece of art. The hook is memorable and while the verses are a bit stronger that doesn’t take away the masterful production of the song. This is the type of tune one would want to turn up to the highest volume and blast while they are dancing around their bedroom. And that alone makes it a successful song.
The best track on the LP is “Knife Fight” which has a slight 50s throwback vibe to it with background vocals cooing out “ooh’s”. And even when Mason’s vocals cut through singing about a girl who is “looking for a knife fight,” someone who will “cut off both of your hands,” there still is that retro shade to the tune that makes it wholly unique and stand out on the album. The lyrics may be set in the modern times but everything else in the song borrows elements of decades past to elevate the tune to the most ingenious track on the album. Here the instrumentation takes center stage with Mason sitting a bit in the backseat, but his vocals are still unique and memorable. One could almost hear this being played in a popular television show as background music. It’s infectious and the lyrics give the song its edge and while the chorus is a bit too mainstream for the tune, it does create the balance that PJKTS knows how to present to listeners all too well. If there is one track to put on repeat this is it.
With an overabundance of songs on the album there are bound to be a few less than stellar songs. “Three for the Show” is a bit uninspired on a whole and doesn’t compare with so many of the other tracks on the album. Elesewhere “Electric Blue Eyes,” while a fine song gets lots in the shuffle of far more superior songs. Still the album is worth a listen to. PJKTS know exactly the type of sound they want to represent their band and they do it with a flourish.