'J Laser' Review: Each song in the self-titled EP is a powerful dose that will leave you craving for more
Jordan Lawlor aka J Laser has started his new solo project and will release his self-titled debut EP on June 26
Jordan Lawlor, the guitarist for the LA-based, Grammy-nominated French band M83, is releasing his own self-titled debut EP under his stage name J Laser on June 26. The eponymously named EP is a solo project by the composer-producer set "in dystopian Los Angeles, California, fusing the modern means of electronic production and sonic manipulation with the warmth and humanity of the classic song craft and instrumentation found prominent in the eras gone past," according to a press release statement.
Fans of the French dream-pop group M83 may recognize Lawlor as the guitarist for the band. At the age of 18, Lawlor was recruited by M83 as a multi-instrumentalist on ‘Hurry up, We’re Dreaming Tour’, which would see the musician diving from mild-mannered home-schooler straight into the deep end as a quintessential rock star and playing some of the world's biggest music fests in a matter of months, including Coachella, Glastonbury and Lollapalooza.
Lawlor would spend the following years with the band with international tours and contributing to the creative process. His silky-smooth funk-pop composition, 'Walkway Blues', was cited as one of the prominent tracks' on M83's 2016 album 'Junk'. Lawlor's musical résumé also extends to artists as varied as Oberhofer, Mark Petrie and THEY, as well as a multitude of cues for TV and film. Under his own moniker, J Laser now returns to usher in a dynamic, supercharged package of songs with his debut EP with fellow collaborators Jamie Lawlor (drummer), Laura Murphy (bass), and Omar El Deeb (keyboards).
On the new EP, it is clear J Laser has focused on giving each track its own character. Stretching musical textures and ranging tempos to a wider audience, there are sonic resonances for a variety of music lovers to click with. Beyond the addicting five-song tracklist, you are left with the impression that J Laser himself craved a bigger canvas. Every song is a powerful dose of take-over-the-world prowess and we are left breathless and just wanting more.
'Orpheus', the first track, opens in a warping psychedelic fusion of celestial chiming and 'The Twilight Zone' bizarreness before a hard-hitting soul chorus with lyrics such as "Reverse, rewind. Orpheus plays the lyre. Daydreams of eurydice. Flashback, it starts. It pulls me apart. Can't look back or it'll disappear."
The uptempo 'Waves & Blades' immediately replaces the floating escapism of the previous track with a slick rock and roll charge. Grungey synth takes the opening groove over a thickened as a splashy punk beat drives the rhythm. An airy pre-chorus announces the thumping chorus with Lawlor revealing, "You can only see it if you close your eyes."
'Sunshine' adopts a slightly staccato hip-hop beat elevating a rich ambient-pop tune heavy in layers of synth strings. In 'Blood Moon' cyberpunk fans are treated to a dystopian ambiance in similar resonance to a classic futuristic film such as 'Blade Runner', or even sonic similarities to Daft Punk. The track shines and hits your chest cavity with its powerfully rich chorus: layer upon layer of effects and sounds that leave you picking and choosing the best one. The result is mesmerizing, to say the least.
The slowest track on the EP 'Saturn's Return' gets a numbed bass riff played on higher notes. With what begins to sound like melancholic blues, 'Saturn's Return' swells into an aquatic ballad of gentle electronic yearnings.
'J Laser' is a highly recommended EP for anyone, but especially for those who love a mesh of electric music and strong melodic grooves.