Published Feb 17, 2016"Gargoyles," the best track on Jordan Klassen's new album, Javelin, is nothing if not a haunting lullaby. The song begins with rattling, skeletal percussion and ethereal strings before Klassen sings, in his pointed high-pitched voice: "Lean in closer, my ears are stone." It's as if he's addressing the moaning backup vocalist of the song's chorus, who sounds like an echo that our lonely protagonist singer hopes will never end.
That's not the only Javelin song that will give listeners goose bumps. The synths of "Glory B" gurgle under a wordless, long-held high note, that Klassen sings until he's breathless, exuding audible gasps before emitting it again and again. It's a raw, earnest moment, but even the LP's smoother songs are likely to sweep you up in the same way. "Miles" boasts magnificent string work and clapping percussion that sound like the soundtrack of a wistful, bygone epic, while "St Fraser" features pulsating synths that provide a direct counterpoint to it. He sings in a nearly full-on falsetto on closing track "Smoking for Too Long," which stands in stark contrast to the song's restrained plinking key notes and hushed guitar.
It wouldn't even occur to most artists combine such disparate elements into songs, but Klassen executes it deftly and full heartedly enough here to give listeners chills. Javelin is definitely not a conventional LP, but anyone with an open mind — and more importantly, an open heart — will be captivated by its quirky earnestness. (Nevado)