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Release Details

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Jacks, Paul

Drama Club
(Tritone Records)
Release Date: November 15, 2019

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Growing up immersed in his Glasgow born mother’s collection of 80’s new wave classics, Paul Jacks’ obsession with bands like New Order and OMD extended way beyond their popular radio hits. Immersing in their deeper catalogs, the Anchorage, AK based singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist became a huge fan of B-sides – tunes that, to his highly attuned ears, weren’t throwaways or afterthoughts at all, but reflections of their deeper artistry.


On the creative heels of the vast critical acclaim he received for his second full length solo album In Other Words, Jacks delivers a B-sides masterpiece of his own with Drama Club – a four track EP of compelling songs from the IOW sessions that were thematic outliers from the tight, carefully constructed emotional narrative of the album. Driven by his energetic, soulful grooves, imaginative synth driven vibes and ethereal vocals, In Other Words featured ten songs that collectively weaved a story of love lost, self-destruction, denial, longing, regret, shame and, at the last moment, hope.


“I have a very distinct philosophy on album making, and my goal for In Other Words was to explore a smooth approach to storytelling,” says Jacks, who launched his solo career with Defractor in 2018 after years of leading the successful Anchorage based indie pop bands Smile Ease and its offshoot unit Asteroid. “These very personal, partly autobiographical songs were all related to love lost and the psychological levels we can go through in the wake of such loss, including self-destruction, addiction, denial, remorse, and shame. The song arc was about the inner unraveling taking place as someone goes through all these different cycles, only getting back on track with the closer ‘You’re Gonna Learn to Love Someday.’”


A prolific writer, Jacks realized he had a large handful of viable tracks that, despite not fitting into the album’s measured flow, still deserved to be released and heard. His ever-growing legion of fans will appreciate the time and detailed effort he put into the creation of the Drama Club EP, “leveling up” these four gems by adding dazzling sonic polish to the production and taking his vocals to what he calls a “better place, with more clarity, smoothness and richness.”


His attention to the most granular details makes every so-called B-side on Drama Club a powerful emotional experience. It starts with the title track, a trippy, hypnotic and danceable synth-funk delight inspired by high school drama clubs and the idea of using your imagination to be just what you want to be. Jacks confesses that it was originally slated to be on In Other Words, but he ultimately switched it out with “On the Tightrope,” which he felt fit the album’s spirit just a bit better. Driven by an infectious mid-tempo rock groove, “Fire in the Sky” rolls as an inviting introspective narrative inspired by the 1993 alien abduction sci fi mystery film of the same name. The epic drama focuses on two friends who have grown up together. When one is suddenly abducted, the survivor is left to deal with loss and his guilt.


Jacks calls the romantic leaning, rhythmically varied “I’ve Got Your Eyes” – which begins in an atmospheric trance like mode before easing into a seductive, mid-tempo groove – a “song about mysterious love, where you can’t pinpoint the exact details of an encounter when you’re caught up longing for love.” The final track is the “power ballad” of Drama Club, a deeply ambient, sensually grooving song featuring some of Jacks’ most heartfelt and haunting vocals – and even some wordless vocalizing in spots. He artfully chronicles the aftermath of a cruel breakup where “Forever’s gone in a night” and the tow are “wandering on different roads to search for truth.”


Ever the musical adventurer, Jacks will continue to redefine the concept of “B-Sides” throughout 2020, erasing any remaining stigma associated with the concept by keeping these colorful explorations going. He will be following the Drama Club EP with the release of several new singles whose styles range from disco-pop to a piano-centered singer/songwriter sound that draws on his significant Beatles/John Lennon influences.


Photos: Oscar Avellaneda Cruz & Sonny Ogle


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