I have a friend who is a multi-talented musician. He can shred on guitar, fly on keyboards, perform complex beats on drums, and he plays bass better than anyone I know. But when he sits in his state-of-the-art recording studio he records for other musicians, not for his own music. He brings in drummers, singers, and other musicians because they embellish and improve-truly add their own character- to a piece.
When I read on the album cover that Jake Nielsen played nearly every instrument and sang all the vocals, I prepared myself for the worst. However, Jake surprised me with quality, originality, and some mad music skills. For example, on the track Let’s Live, he grand slams the instrumental portion of the song.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t have criticism with Perspective. In fact I do have concerns and will write about them soon. But let’s be real about this artist: Jake Nielsen is a diamond and this album is a jewel.
When my fiancee’ and I went shopping to buy an engagement ring, we quickly learned that diamonds have flaws. Perspective is like that- excellent music, classic rock progressions that remind us of Styx, ELP, Rush, and even YES. But its flaws lie completely in the singularity of the artist. The only influences that brings the music forward belong to Jake Nielsen. While those influences may be diverse, another artist brings their own influences and those nuances can send an album into the stratosphere or into the toilet. I prefer the risk of inclusion.
The lead vocals could be stronger and Jake does have lead singer potential but isn’t quite there yet. He also sang the harmonies. No matter how many ways he filters those voices, we know it’s him. What a singular voice does is flatten out the tone and the possibility of a rich, vibrant chorus is lost and can not be brought back using carny tricks on music software. The vocals disappoint.
However, what I love about this album is its musicality and drive. Jake Nielsen is an accomplished composer and arranger. I love how his instrumentals simply fly through the progressions. What an an adventure! I also enjoy his vocal arrangements- they are classic prog and blend nicely with the music. I also enjoyed the lyrics-his deep spirituality is often reflected in his words.
“there once was a man from a covenant land in the east he was sent to confront a great kingdom corrupt and diseased he sealed the rain in the heavens, called fire to the earth he brought back the dead by his prophetic word and though chased like a thief, his heart still grieved for the souls who sought his life ” - A Still Small Voice, Jake Nielsen
A diamond with a few flaws; yet still a gem. A spiritual message without flaw. These are Jake’s tunes.