Jay Som: Anak Ko (Polyvinyl/Rhythmethod/digital outlets)

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Jay Som: Anak Ko (Polyvinyl/Rhythmethod/digital outlets)
A glance at the photos of some musicians in the gatefold sleeve of the vinyl edition of this third album by Jay Som alerts you to the idea that “she may not be from around here”.

At a guess you'd say she was from the Philippines and her actual name being Melina Duterte would confirm that.

In fact she is of a Filipino family but born in California and parlays a very charming, quiet and melodic type of indie-bedroom pop-rock which is high on subtlety and low on volume for the most part.

Aside from the chiming pop of Superbike and Peace Out which gets a shoegaze soar in the final third – bringing to mind a second generation Flying Nun band which grew up on the Sundays and not the Clean – this album is more a whisper than a scream, even when there are some anxieties and emotional grappling (Devotion, Get Well) being channeled in her lyrics.

Duterte plays most things herself but has guest drummers, guitarists (lovely pedal steel on Get Well), a violinist and backing vocalists in a few places. But you sense she is a woman entirely in control of what she wants this music to sound like, and has a firm grasp of musical and vocal understatement.

There is a soft shimmer and guitar sparkle to much of this and her lyrics are those of someone – in her mid 20s – coming to terms with putting youth behind her and working through the more difficult adult world of relationships and looking closely at people's behaviour.

She doesn't so much judge as push to find a space for herself, and she does that to songs as lovely as Tenderness.

If you feel your world is too full of haste, shouting and surface noise from the media and streets, then Anak Ko is an album -- in a lovely cover -- which allows you to breathe, take in some very human doubts and concerns, and bathe in melodic comfort.

Anak Ko is available on coloured vinyl in a gatefold sleeve through Rhythmethod or can be heard on Spotify here.




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