Though occasionally slipping into the prosaic, this songwriter and classically trained guitarist finds his own voice by the album’s end
Brooklyn-based artist Jeremy Bass cut his teeth as a classical guitarist and is also the musical director for The Secret City, an arts organization which has received the auspicious Off-Broadway honour of an Obie Award. There are hints of these origins on his new album, The Greatest Fire, but there’s also a strong sense that he is attempting something more personal and inventive here.
His voice has the sound of a polished Thom Yorke, with some of the Radiohead frontman’s questing housed within a more mainstream framework. Considering his early influences, it’s a fitting space for him to occupy, but for some it will come over a little too glossy. While songs like the country pop-tinged title track title and (So Glad) Everyone’s Happy are pleasant enough, they lack a little dynamism.
But there is more to Bass, as displayed throughout the album. The nimbly picked guitar of Trees For The Forest shows that he has lost none of his ability with the instrument and final song, We Will Be You, is perhaps the finest example of what he is capable of. Both stark and epic, there are pockets of space which fill with the sound of mourning guitars and piano, an ideal accompaniment for the yearning vocal performance. This is his sweet spot, one which suggests he really can bring together all of his influences to create something that is his alone.
Verdict: A musical insight into where Bass has come from and where he wants to go