Thursdays With J.R. – LIJO

Thursdays with J.R. is our new weekly column from lifelong musician and lifelong-er music fan J.R. McIntire, drummer of Arctic Char and multi-instrumentalist on more projects than we have bandwidth to list.

This week’s submission was creative and different.  I don’t know about you but that checks a few boxes right off the bat for me.  I spun LIJO’s “Spell” and this three minute and forty second vocal layer cake really grabbed my sweet tooth.  As with most vocal predominant songs you always expect an instrument, beat or sample to possibly come in and when it does its very simple yet super effective.  Pure vocals for the most part.  I suggest giving your brain a second listen once you realize that to really absorb the structure and complexity of this tune.  It opens with, you guessed it, vocals.  Sparse and environmental at first, they build a foundation and through line for the song.  Very little reverb, clear and crisp with the lyrics cutting through.  Layers begin slightly with harmonies doubled beautifully but still no wave of reverb, crisp and clear.  Good midrange on the recording, not always easy to do with vocal mixing.  Her breaths in are percussive, you feel them.  The first time we get the chorus it immediately feels familiar.  Second verse hits with  what sounds like a cello that cuts hard before the second round of the chorus.  The same deep low-end sample brings in the third verse.  The last chorus has the sample, which is what you’ve wanted all along, you just didn’t know it yet.  The music and vocals crescendo into the final line of lyric, “someone else’s spell”.  Very beautiful yet dark tune about what sounds like possible loss of a relationship.  The lack of reverb tail is seriously impressive, the song is very clean which can be a mixing and editing challenge.  I really dug this tune, again give it a few spins, it really got me second time around.  Great use of winter imagery the song feels cold and dark yet beautiful and honestly, catchy.

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