Tiny Lion Records just issued 'Inky Ovine', Jas Patrick's third EP. Patrick, who lives and records in Tennessee, writes and plays blues rock seasoned with hefty doses of British rock that is reminiscent of the Dave Clark Five. There are even smidgens of punk rock and reggae in his music.
That being said, Patrick's music is difficult to classify. Perhaps experimental blues rock would be most appropriate, although in Patrick's case, the term experimental should be translated as unique rather than untried and weird. Contagious melodies, articulate lyrics and snazzy guitar riffs form the basis of Patrick's musical texture. His voice is strong, especially when he ramps it up and allows it to gargle and growl.
The EP includes six songs, some excellent and, frankly, one or two that should be disposed of or re-arranged. Five out of the six tunes could definitely benefit from more and better background vocals. As it is, the back-up vocals are weak and tentative, which detracts from the aural impact.
Without a doubt, the jewel of the EP is 'Harpy', a rocking blues tune that opens with a snarling guitar that immediately attracts attention. Because of the scintillating guitar that flings the melody into orbit, along with Patrick's rough and ready for anything vocals, the song blisters and pops with an oh-so-good feeling.
'Party Line' is another bluesy rocker, with suppressed vocals that don't quite work, making it mediocre at best. The title track is an upbeat reggae-like, alternative rock piece. The core melody sounds like something out of a 1950s B-western movie; artificial and a little absurd.
Americana makes an unexpected appearance on 'Little Bug'. It begins with an acoustic guitar and a raggedy melody that, about halfway through, settles in and stops grating. And there's a distinct British rock tang to the song that, thankfully, doesn't collide with the melody.
'Didn't Ask', surely the weakest song on the EP, starts off with a teeny bopper essence, and then proceeds to assume a country rock feel. The combination of teeny bopper and country is disconcerting, causing the tune to crash and burn under its own weight.
The final song, 'Snow Day', employs a funky beat with good effect. The beat allows Patrick to extend his voice in a trenchant exhibition of vocal prowess. The song builds nicely and is filled out by a great chorus that demonstrates the benefits of healthy back-up vocals.
Despite being tentative, as if Patrick is still searching for his sound, 'Inky Ovine' shows ambition and talent, talent that is beginning to bloom. A little more nurturing and it will dazzle, especially if Patrick continues to write songs like 'Harpy', where he can use his voice as God intended.
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