After Slow Dance's synth pop detour, Jeremy Jay goes in a more rock-oriented direction with Splash, but his world-view remains the same. Jay still has a more epic approach than most of his indie pop peers, wearing his heart on his sleeve on songs that boast guitar heroics and expansive intros and codas that make each track feel like an event. This album may be his most romantic yet, full of reveries about calling someone on a whim and how much a chance moment can mean. Jay sets the scene with “As You Look Over the City,” which, with lyrics like “The records are spinning/As pen goes to paper,” is the musical equivalent of a film starting with a shot that pans across a city skyline. Meanwhile, “A Sliver of a Chance” is Jay’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” with deadpan verses pitted against swooning choruses. Splash is all the more romantic thanks to its polished sound, which allows the old-fashioned ideals in Jay's songs -- any chance for love must be seized, and he’s dying to see his special someone right away -- to shine through even more clearly. “Just Dial My Number”’s breezy piano pop and the dreamlike tale of lovers in disguise “It Happened Before Our Time” borrow melodies straight out of ‘50s and ‘60s pop and update them with modern stream-of-consciousness lyrics. And while there’s often a fine line between romantic and cheesy, Jay stays on the right side of it, despite “Someday Somewhere”’s rippling pianos and disappearing angels. It helps that Splash has more of a rock edge than any of Jay's previous work, and that the band behind him is tight, adding a strut that recalls Suede’s fey glamour to “This Is Our Time.” More than his other albums, this set of songs plays like a suite, offering different expressions of the same feelings. The final track, “Why Is This Feeling So Strong?,” is the only place where reality intrudes when Jay gives up on loving someone too far away and too attached to someone else. Yet even this song ends on a major chord that suggests there’s still hope, like any true romantic would believe. Even if Splash isn’t quite as bracing as some of Jay's earlier work, there’s still plenty for lovelorn indie fans to appreciate here.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Heather Phares