Jaeger Wells has just released his EP Fever Dream Anthology, a varied mix of the wide range he is capable of showing. With nods to both the 70s and 90s, while still keeping the music modern, Wells has created an EP that is sure to appeal to many different listeners.
The EP opens with “Sao Paulo Liars Club” which paints the perfect musical and visual picture of a man who is lonely and what is surroundings at a run down hotel are doing to him. The lyrics are definitely set in this era “all my t.v. gets is scrambled porn,” he states, but with pitch perfect background vocals that are something out of a Klaatu song, there is an always present throwback element to this track. Listeners can feel the pain in Wells voice as he sings that he is afraid he is missing a big part of his life. The imagery of Wells standing in front of the bathroom sink, deep thoughts racing through his mind as he looks into the mirror, is powerful and relatable and helps make “Sao Paulo Liars Club” one of the strongest tracks on the album.
The leading single “What it Feels Like” most definitely has drawn inspiration from 90s alternative pop. This particular track is reminiscent partly of Better than Ezra’s hit “Good,” but it still retains a fresh edge as an audience cheering effect is interspersed throughout to make it sound like the tune is being performed live. It adds another layer to a song that already has multiple layers. Wells introspective storytelling is what is at front and center here, as there is minimal instrumentation, so when he lays down a dose of honesty that he’s “praying for a truth that’s better than what you dread” it is highlighted and not simply lost in the music. And while the verses are dark the chorus is quite uplifting as Wells makes it a point to “face what’s coming towards you.” Perfect for anyone going through a rough time in their life, listeners can find some solace in Well’s songwriting.
“For the Jilted, For the Broken,” is a much more darker song, not just in the lyrics but in the heavy guitars and pounding percussion. Even Well’s voice comes off as unhinged and slightly disturbing as he wails of “all the headless horses.” It’s a slight change of pace for the EP, but Wells pulls it off by putting all of his feelings on display for listeners to consume. Elsewhere, the cleverly titled “Rotten Apple of My Eye” has yet again another retro vibe, back to the 50s or 60s. The lush background vocals make another appearance, and Wells almost talking delivery can be compared to Jeremy Fury of the retro influenced Jeremy and the Harlequins. With an added dash of piano where you least expect it, Wells keeps listeners on their toes, and keeps surprising them, making this track, along with “Sao Paulo Liars Club” the most memorable of Fever Dream Anthology.
If you wanted to go deeper into Wells mind, look no further than the closing track “East Coast Ghosts.” Not only does he say up front that he’s “been known to think too much,” but the frantic nature of the song, with an added crackling sound effect, help create a perfect soundtrack to Wells busy brain. This is never more cleverly captured then when the track goes into a layering of Well’s voice singing memories on top of memories. It’s chaotic and masterful and further shows the experimentation that Wells dives head first into on this record.
Always surprising, honest, and smart, Fever Dream Anthology is sure to make a grand splash in the music scene.