Reviews

Jam City
Jam City Presents EFM

(Earthly / Mad Decent)

8/10

Last time out, Jack Latham aka Jam City was all in on the neon, pop-rock fantasy of Pillowland, pushing things to a wonderfully kaleidoscopic, chaotic place. But here on Jam City Presents EFM there’s complete clarity: Latham set out to create an album for the club and absolutely nailed it.

In the release notes he speaks of nights in Liquid and Envy, Photek’s ‘Mine to Give’ and sticky champagne nightclub floors. Yet even with that sentimentality and nods to rites of passage for those of us of a certain age, Jam City Presents EFM is no nostalgia-heavy throwback; instead, it’s a work of gossamer production and low key summer heaters.

It opens softly with the glossy ‘Touch Me’ and its easy blend of pop, R&B and synth hooks while ‘Times Square’ is similarly understated, shifting to a minimal house beat and guitar line funk that’s like Daft Punk playing ‘Make Love’ at Jacques Greene’s house.

The guitars and synths that became such a feature of his previous work resurface here but take on fresh new forms. On ‘Tears at Midnight’, Latham goes full Drive soundtrack with pulsing, spacious ’80s synth pop, slides into the gorgeous slow jam of ‘Do it’, and kicks up ‘Wild n Sweet’ into housey tones, perky synth and sweeping bass. But it’s standout track ‘Reface’ where everything truly comes together: a cranky, distorted UK bass-inflected banger that opens with raining synth, drifts into dreamy guitar breaks and hits with a satisfying, face-screwing beat. Mission accomplished.

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