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Over the last six months or so we’ve enjoyed a couple of singles from an artist who goes by the name of PALE JAY. We’ve learned very little about Mr (?) Jay save that he likes to keep himself(?) to himself and refuses to reveal his identity. Prior to the aforementioned singles, he’d released an EP, ‘The Celestial Suite’ from which the track ‘Donny In  Valdez’ won acclaim. The music, like, PJ himself was enigmatic and “enigmatic” was a good adjective to describe those  two recent singles.

First there was the ethereal  ‘By The Lake’ – a  beguiling tune which was  a collaboration with Steve Okonksi (keyboardist with Durand Jones and the Indications). That was  followed by an equally eclectic  ‘In Your Corner’. Like ‘By The Lake’ it wasn’t  soul but there  was a soulful feel to proceedings especially in our man’s falsetto vocal .

Those two tracks are at the core of Pale Jay’s debut studio album which wins release via Karma Chief/Colemine Records on August 18th. The album offers 16 tracks – essentially 8 tunes delivered as vocals and instrumentals. Yes, a bit bewildering – so no surprise that the album is called ‘Bewilderment’!

Pale Jay’s team point us to the dictionary to tell us that “Bewilderment” means the feeling of being perplexed and confused  and that is the inspiration behind the album. They add that  the music explores a family’s gradual disintegration due to years of avoidance and miscommunication and that the tracks question the stories PJ  had always lived with and how he’s now re-examining his identity. So, yes, a little  bewildering!

But what  does the music sound like? Well the overall soundscape is haunting, ethereal, eclectic and let’s say it again, a tad bewildering. The immediate “grabber” and the track that might appeal most to the contemporary soul crowd is ‘My Dirty Desire’. This is a neat, clipped, little beater with sweet falsetto vocals. The  message of the piece of though is provocative – society rewards extroverts, but PJ  embraces his introverted nature and the benefits of solitude!

Elsewhere, the musical mood of ‘Bewilderment’ is  much more sombre and eerie – best summed up by the cut, ‘Dreaming In Slow Motion’. The title says it all and, you know, that would have been a god title for the whole long player.

If you fancy being bewildered you can catch it from August 18th on Karma Chief/Colemine.