We here at the Send Me Your Ears studio have been listening to the latest single from New Jersey (US) artist, Jakesghost, today. “Before 23” tackles the subject of growing up and having to let go of the memories and mindset of your teen years. It is, like the mind of a teenager perhaps, a song which flits and morphs from gentle ballad to sudden angst and melds together lots of different sections.

The song starts with heavily reverbed picked electric guitar. When the vocals come in, they’re harmonically interesting and create an unexpected melody with a very distant and almost imperceptible backing vocal. We loved how this worked well together, even though, on paper, it didn’t feel as though it should!

There’s an interesting contrast between the heavily reverbed guitar and the dry unaffected and unprocessed electronic drums. The use of different types of snare sounds and lots of different percussions works well throughout this highly creative track.

There are a lot of changes and different sections in the first 90 seconds or so of this track. We particularly loved the cool percussive sounds – almost like a 16 beat being played on milk bottles that pan heavily from left to right.

Because of the numerous changes during the track, we found it a little hard to access on first listen. By the time we listened for a second time, however, we knew what to expect and the track very much grew on us. This is genre bending, highly creative, intelligent music. Whilst this is an alternative rock style track, we were reminded that some of the greatest progressive music needs several listens before you can truly appreciate the artist, and we felt that here too. Jakesghost is clearly a trail blazer who resolutely refuses to stick to any musical rules. And we love that!

From a production perspective, a small boost around 75Hz would add some extra thump to the kick drum sound and a small high shelf boost in the top 3 octaves would give the track a little more presence and brightness. Some of the percussive sounds are peaking a little in the top octave so it may be an idea to check some of the individual tracks for peaks (any EQ plug-in with an analyser can help with this).

Jakesghost’s track, Before 23, is a highly creative track that we have no doubt will grow on you. Sure to win him new fans, this extremely unique song is an exercise in pushing the boundaries of music genres and rules.