What if you could distill the very essence of the NYC party scene into a single bottle of frosty-sparkly liqueur- and imbibe it too. What would that look like? What would it sound like?
Jake Lancer’s stupendous debut EP “Take Off!” answers all of that, and more with its thump-a-licious, EDM-scented eletro-pop bangers. The New York-based queer artists’ proposal is one of intensely personal lyricism dipping into subjects of fears, love, heartbreak and acceptance. He finds balance for the wistfulness in his songwriting through the unabashedly groovy rhythms picked up from the long and storied world of the NYC clubbing scene.
The EP clocks in at a modest 4 songs and is well under 20 minutes long. But don’t confuse this modesty with a lack of confidence. Jake’s sound is packing poise and depth aplenty, and his lyrics awash with themes of “fears, love, trauma, and joy” take on empowering, anthem-like qualities in no small part thanks to the musical textures he’s chosen. Even from the very first song, “Feel Your Love”, he makes a clear statement about his vision and the emotional range he wants to work within this project. In the case of this song, Jake achieves a soaring sense of celebratory euphoria as he explores the rather universal drive to attain emotional and physical intimacy, a struggle that he’s uniquely familiar with on another level as a formerly-closeted gay
Following a strong start is “Paris”, which I found is even better with its rich 90s-soaked synths and deep resonating beat and extremely catchy hook about having to part ways with a lover who is- you guessed it- moving to paris. This song I found to be very richly layered, more so than others in the EP, and if you thought you were soaring with “Feel Your Love”, then “Paris” will just launch you to the stratosphere.
The Titular track “TAKE OFF!” At first comes off to be much more of a modern and stripped-down track, however, as the hook comes up the song takes a huge turn with an epic crescendo that again leans into those same euphoric moments that the first song highlights.
Jake’s final track for this EP is named “Tomorrowland”, a song with such intense synthwork that it reminded me of Electric Light Orchestra for the first few seconds. The song eventually opens up from its retro vibe into a truly overwhelming EDM banger worthy of the stages of Tomorrowland itself. The intensity of this track doesn’t come cheap, however, as the song narrates an equally intense ending to a powerful love affair.
With some killer musical instincts on his side, Jake Manages to capture deeply interesting soundscapes to layer his lyrics over, deftly translating the deeply personal into the universal, relatable, constructive and… danceable! I would even venture to say that turning the cathartic into the therapeutic Is second nature for Jake, and since he works as a therapist in New York, one can also say that his mental health work extends to his creative life as well.
Story: Samuel Aponte Photos: Courtesy of the artist
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