Jason Gerard, an Austin, Texas native is known for his blend of punk and alternative music. Gerard was the co-founder of the punk band Egoteric and has played several venues in Texas. Specializing in keyboard and guitar, Gerard has a sound that is edgy and fierce. Most notably, his work is a blend of Bowie and Iggy Pop, giving a gritty and alternative bent to his sound.
The first song on the album is “Stop Playing Games With Me.” The synth element of the keyboard ramps up first thing and a series of guitar riffs blends into Gerard’s soft vocals. The tone changes immediately to a repetitive and edgy chorus of “stop playing your games with me.” The tone of the vocals is very deadpan and made me think of Goth elements that I usually respond to in music. The vocals blend with stronger guitar riffs, but become grating in their flat, repetitive nature.
“My Beating Heart” begins with some intricate guitar playing and a soft set of vocals from Gerard. Some theatrical imagery about cut glass and visceral bleeding permeates the piece and I found myself reacting to the panoramic view of a bleeding heart torn apart by love to the flavor of broken glass and maybe a hint of leather. The guitar work is strong, but the vocals begin to waver and felt off center mid-way through the song. Having repetition in a piece is good to create a flow of sound and structure, but I found myself getting annoyed at the overuse of the same lyrics over and over, with the added element of wavering vocals that set my teeth on edge.
“You Set Me Free” is the title track to the album. Strong guitar riffs greet your ears, combined with deadpan vocals. Female backup singers are thrust into the piece. Their harmony is decidedly lacking and resembled nails trailing down a chalkboard. I shuddered and had to stop listening to the piece until I could close my eyes and brace myself for more. There is an alternative rock edge that I liked, but the other elements kind of ruined the song for me.
Jason Gerard is an international artist with a strong presence in Texas. His alternative rock meets punk style sounds much like Iggy Pop and David Bowie. This fall he is scheduled to release an as yet unnamed album and I am interested to see how he has developed as an artist since You Set Me Free came out in 2008. I responded to the edgy quality of his work, but the overuse of repetitive lyrics and off center vocals really was distracting. This artist has promise and if he can focus on the punk and grit that brings him strength, he will be able to accomplish much. The deadpan nature of his voice was good; the panoramic nature of some of his more theatrical pieces was filled with imagery and his guitar work worth listening to.
Key Tracks- My Beating Heart, Stop Playing Games With Me, You Set Me Free
August 20, 2012