Jake Allen: Deviant Motions

Jake Allen c87b0f3c31cf40009d14beea1e37a909.jpg

Submitted by Mitchell Sauls

Who looks like a young Ralph Macchio and sings like a cross between Richard Marx and Christopher Cross? Who rocks harder than guitarist Andy McKee and puts you in the same headspace as Aphex Twin or Air?

The answer: Michigan’s Jake Allen.

Okay, those comparisons are a bit unfair, as Allen is truly in a world of his own. In a good way. Allen’s album, Deviant Motions, is a likeable blend of pop-rock, acoustic guitar and glossy musical waves. There are 14 tracks on the album, and while it’s heavy on quantity, Allen’s quality holds up to the challenge.

Starting off the album is “The Picture.” It’s an interesting choice to come out of the gate, but nonetheless a wise decision. Even if you were to stumble across this song, you will be grabbed by its cool layering and ethereal/progressive rock mood. Allen’s voice is really likeable and is radio-friendly. You can understand what he’s singing about, and he’s dreamy.

The second track “Bridges” has a bit of a stutter-step start. You’re ready to get going, and the music bed is still building up its momentum. Allen really belts it out in this song – I imagine him writing this while overlooking Lake Superior or even Lake Huron. He makes you feel like you’re part of something. I suppose this would be a great track one, but I’m glad it’s in the top three.

Coming up third, is “Scorpio.” After a few listens, I thought I would like this song more than I did. It occurred to me that this would be a great summer love song, but after a few listens, it became filler.

“If You Fall Apart” shows a bit more maturity. His open diary love song is carefully crafted – you can’t escape Allen’s web. Did I mention he sounds dreamy?

The fifth track is “The End Of Us” and he really structures the such as such so it keeps you moving along. It’s toe tapping enough to be a nice slow dance. Even if it’s a sad dance.

“Imprismed” and “A Dream” both charm and linger. Allen’s voice gets better and better as Deviant Motions moves along.“Troubadorial,” “A Dream That Lingers,” “Detour” and “Dust And Spider Webs” (the lyrics in this one are a little cheesy) came across competent but not as memorable.

“Lascivious” has a relaxed flare – the acoustic breadth creates a different pallet. And “Still” completes the album. I think the order of these last two tracks really made sense. It winds you down.

Allen is on his way. As noted in his previous work, the 2011 album Etherica, Allen fuses together rock, pop and modern music. He leaves the jazzier side to him in the past, and his current 14-track album spins interesting paths. Deviat Motions is a must-have from this Michigan maestro.