Jay Lei - Ronin
Owain Paciuszko 17/12/2008
In a similar vein to Bristol's Oxygen Thief's one-man-acoustic-loudness comes this four track EP by Midlands/Yorkshire-based Jay Lei. There's more intricacy to Lei's playing compared to Oxygen Thief, but the same lone-rock approach with vocals bellowed over acoustic guitar is present and correct.
Opening with 'Billy...' Lei's vocal is initially distracting, but either Lei adjusts or your ears do and things gel. It's a decent little track that echoes around your brain with it's refrain of 'Hey Billy, you're just a kid' lingering longest. Second track 'God-damn Novelty' treads similar ground melodically and though its bitter sentiments are sharper than any of the opening track's observations it doesn't have quite the same impact lyrically. Musically Lei throws in some Hendrix-like guitar effects which add some relief from the at-times repetitive acoustic strumming.
Generally Lei excels when he's being more experimental with the use of his own backing-vocals and adding a little gloss to tracks, sometimes - when left alone - this feels more like a really well produced live session, and this renders it a tad forgettable.