Former frontman of The Exquisites, Jason Clackley, shows his tender side with his solo EP Patience. The release is quite the departure from Clackley’s alt-punk days, as emotive lyrics and exquisite piano playing make up why I love this EP.
“Eyes” opens up the EP with its slightly brooding sound as a result of Clackley’s lyrics, voice and piano playing. Throughout the song, the dynamics of the piano performance mirror the level of passion in Clackley’s voice. My favorite aspect of this song is the pleading lyrics: the chorus repeats “Open up your eyes/ and let the things we say come true.” The ending repetition of “open up your eyes” adds a moving layer of desperation.
“Stop Now” picks up the pace a bit more from the first song. The addition of a percussive element to the piano gives the song a driving beat. The first line, “Do you remember when/ we fell apart?” exposes the very passionate nature of the song. Clackley’s voice echoes that passion in the scream-like way he sings. Clackley spends the entire song belting notes at you, similarly to when Glen Hansard hammers those higher notes. “Stop Now” oozes punk rock intensity but leaves the anarchy behind.
In “Slow Motion,” Clackley slows things down in both his piano playing and singing. Clackley’s heavy use of the sustain pedal allows all of the primarily-lower notes to linger. This lingering element is also displayed in the way Clackley draws out his vocal notes. His final cry “is there anyone else that feels the same way as I do” is sung twice for emphasis and the song ends with a beautiful piano outro. “Slow Motion” has an overall calm, meditative sound.
“You” very quickly changes the relaxed mood of the EP with its very Rachmaninov-esque opening slam on the piano. The piano’s theme is then laid out and repeated so as to lay the foundation for the rest of the song. Clackley’s first lyric–“You’re one in a million–similarly sets the tone for the rest of the poetic ode to a beloved. The unique chorus of “You”’ is comprised solely of the lyric “and you”. The dynamic way the piano is played at the chorus gives “and you” even greater emphasis. The song then closes the EP with another elegant piano outro.
Every song off Patience combines heartfelt lyrics with graceful piano playing, giving off the sound of piano concerto meets singer-songwriter work. Both the piano playing and lyrics find equal emphasis and importance. Clackley’s EP feels like a timeless classic, and it has not even been out for a half a year.–Krisann Janowitz