Montreal-based multi-instrumentalist Jean-Sebastian Audet first appeared under the Un Blonde moniker, receiving glowing acclaim for his off-kilter approach to R&B harmonies, warm instrumentals, and warped experimental recording. After 2017's bright and optimistic Good Will Come to You, Audet ditched the Un Blonde moniker and changed his artist name to Yves Jarvis, joining his middle name with his mother's last name as the new banner for his ever-more-insular music. The Same But By Different Means, ostensibly Audet's second album, finds him reaching for new ways to translate intimate and curious feelings into songs that float lightly between beauty and friction. One of the first notable things about the album is its extensive track listing, which boasts 22 songs. These tracks range anywhere from 15 seconds to a sprawling eight minutes, but many are succinct to the point of feeling abrupt, drifting in and out of being in under three minutes. The brevity that sometimes marks these songs is made all the more otherworldly by Audet's textural production, which is heavy on swells of analog tape echo and other lo-fi touches. Insular, almost shambling production is a hallmark of the album, and it manifests as meandering folk-rock on "Out of the Blue, Into Both Hands," stunningly smooth indie soul on "Into the Forefront," and as radiant ambient experimentation on tracks like the pastoral "Talking or Listening." Audet plays every instrument on the album and moves deftly from Dilla-esque drums to pseudo-orchestral segments on societal critique "That Don't Make It So," switching gears abruptly into field recordings, rustic acoustic guitars, and bright horn arrangements. The Same But By Different Means is a quietly soaring album, managing to be as playful and exploratory as Robert Wyatt or Brian Eno while retaining the same heavy-browed, inward-looking songwriting perspective of Frank Ocean or Joni Mitchell. The fragmented patchwork nature of the album can at times make it difficult to separate the songs from the sonics, but adventurous listeners willing to get past this will find that Yves Jarvis hides beautifully soul-bearing sentiments just beneath his veneer of blurry tape manipulation and impressionistic production.
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas