Before signing to Captured Tracks in December 2011, Tokyo-based electronic duo Jesse Ruins perpetuated an air of mystery, but the secret's been out ever since... sort of. Now we know the group is led by producer Nobuyuki Sakuma, who is joined by the gently eerie female singer Nah, and the two prefer to let their music speak for itself, which has its own enigmatic leanings. Dream Analysis, Jesse Ruins' first EP and first new offering for Captured Tracks, floats in a dance-meets-'80s pop-meets shoegaze cloud, sounding simultaneously fresh and timeless as the twosome construct an atmosphere of seraphic synths, sharp beats, and delicately muffled vocals. Sakuma and Nah's sound has been widely compared to M83, owing to both groups' yen for throbbing keyboards, shoegaze aesthetics, and ambient pop textures, but where the French duo is grand and epic, Jesse Ruins has more of a bedroom feel; imagine a moodier and more introverted and processed Porcelain Raft. That said, the pair have their anthemic moments; the title track begins with a synth murmur and rumbling guitar riff that propel toward obscured co-ed harmonies that, while deliberately buried in the mix, evoke a sense of hope. There's a similar feel on "Shatter the Jewel," as the loping synth and menacing bass take turns in the spotlight, working in tandem with Nah's blissfully distorted vocals for a composition that begs to be added to the right sci-fi/action soundtrack. Also cinematic is the intense "A Bookshelf Sinks Into the Sand," a dirge-like storm of bleak industrial rhythm that later gives way to a clinical "Tubular Bells"-esque beat and sweeping coda. For something softer, check out "Sofija," which soars to the heavens on lighter-than-air vocals enveloped in gauzy synths. Dream Analysis works well as an introduction to Jesse Ruins, or as a retrospective of their best work so far, and the variety of sounds offered therein makes room for one more mystery: where they could be headed next.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Chrysta Cherrie