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Release Details

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Jacks, Paul

"Shy Boy"
(Tritone Records)
Release Date: January 31, 2020

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Continuing on a prolific roll that began with the release of his 2018 solo debut Defractor and reached mass critical acclaim with last year’s In Other Words, singer/songwriter and synth pop master Paul Jacks enters the new decade with a bold, multi-faceted new vision for himself as an artist – and more clever retro ways to distribute his music. Another LP? Forget it. An EP, like his recent – and also very popular – “B-sides” driven Drama Club? Think again.

On January 31, the Anchorage, AK based artist is releasing six dynamic new songs as three A/B sided singles, each with its own distinctive artwork.

The clever concept – a digital 45 feel where you get equally compelling “A” and “B” sides – is perfectly in line with Jacks’ lifelong passion for B-sides – tunes that, to his highly attuned ears, were far more than throwaways or afterthoughts, but reflections of deeper artistry. Yet the presentation is just the open invitation for his ever-growing global fan base and newcomers alike to experience his fresh sonic flow.

With these singles, the singer builds upon his trademark retro-meets-contemporary new wave sound with a palette rich with hybrids of other old school influences, including disco-pop, Motown, and Beatlesque touches. While further developing his strengths as a songwriter, he introduces electric bass into his mix after building grooves using synth bass for his first two solo albums. After producing the six songs in his Tritone studio, he worked with mixing engineer Dan Konopka (also drummer for Los Angeles based band OK Go) to take them to the next sonic level while honing in on a distinct “less is more” aesthetic. Longtime fans will notice that Jacks’ vocals are clearly in the forefront more than ever before.

The first A/B single is dance floor ready, with the playfully grooving, disco-pop gem “Shy Boy” backed by “Getting Back To You,” a hopeful and uplifting romantic nu disco track with shades of Beatlesque magic. Jacks penned the first for “all the shy boys out there who feel underestimated” and the latter about the simple joy of returning to one’s true love after a period of longing.
Equally infectious and grooving but a bit more reflective and mystical, the second A/B single features an abstract cryptic romance “I Fell Right Back Into Your Hands” and Jacks’ dreamy, yet personal and self-evaluating look “I Won’t Die Again My Love.” He describes the “A-side” as “drawn from both personal experiences and my imagination, and of course there is a muse-a fun song with Motown, new wave and disco elements all meshed into a big dance party.”

With its disco-flavored beats, lively dense production and Sgt. Pepper-ish horns, “All The Rage” – Side “A” of the third dual single – provides an ironically festive foundation for Jacks’ hard hitting, socially conscious lines questioning all the anger and violence in the world. He balances this edgy expression with the tender lyricism (couched amidst industrial sounds and slow simmering grooves) of the “B” side “Touch the Light.” The narrative finds him seeking to alleviate those societal and personal fears via the presence of a literal or figurative angel who helps him embrace the light. The artwork for this third set is an impressionistic burst of many colors under attack-representing all the chaos and beauty at once.

As much as he has enjoyed playing clubs in Anchorage and opening (as frontman for Smile Ease) for indie rock greats like Cake, The Mountain Goats, Ra Ra Riot and (on a tour of the Southwest-Blind Pilot), he loves nothing more than spending hours in session, collaborating with select friends and colleagues (including Asteroid keyboardist Colton Ciufo on these solo projects), exploring new paths, creating new sounds and fine tuning his tracks with a dynamic, sparkling shimmer.

Now, a wealth of impactful, critically acclaimed solo material – including the three new A/B singles) – has inspired Jacks to join forces with Ciufo and other Anchorage musicians to form his first ever band as a solo artist and performer. Later in 2020, he plans to start performing live again in his local music scene, and branching out beyond that as it progresses.


Photos: Kerry Tasker


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