Hot damn, this album is smooth! Winnipeg’s Jonas (the band name for Scott Petrowski) has crafted a debut EP full of soulful pop that makes for an incredibly refreshing listen. Unlike the numerous other dudes who are currently infusing their music with soul or trying to give their music a “throwback” 80s feel, Jonas shape this familiar combination to their own and it totally pays off.
Backed by a diverse band, Micah Erenberg (bass, acoustic guitar, percussion), Corey Hykawy (bass), Brendan Simard (violin), and Zander Howard-Scott (cello), Petrowski slides from song to song making Archaea go down easy. Even the hazy and saddening “Poetic Lung” (“it was just a dance,” Petrowski reminds us) has no bitter aftertaste thanks to a creamy combo of keys and strings.
The superb opening track “Water” will, yes, make you thirsty for more. Starting with a jittery and funky opening verse, the song smooths out come the chorus. Fittingly taking the pace down a notch, Petrowski croons, “move slow like you’re waiting for me. Step back on the double like I can’t afford it.” In under two and half minutes, Jonas packs in as much lust and sex as possible for a completely irresistible track.
Jonas return to this lusty state in both “First Love” and “More Than Eyes Can See.” “First Love” is an unhurried and dreamy tune, the repetition of “first love” reaches almost trancelike levels, and again some perfectly placed string work allow Jonas to bask in adoration. Petrowski opens “More Than Eyes Can See” with the familiar questions, “was it a word? Or maybe a feeling?” Dissolving into a steady pop groove, “More Than Eyes Can See” muses on what causes attraction between two people and making here a good time to have a cold shower.
The EP comes at the end with Jonas covering, one of those bands doing the soul-infusion type music, Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s “So Good at Being in Trouble.” Melodically the song doesn’t stray much from the original but instrumentally Petrowski et al. choose a lo-fi acoustic vibe that kicks-up the original mellowness (bongos will do that to a song) for a fun twist.
Jonas’ Archaea is one of those surprisingly good records that you will want to savour before everyone else hears it.
Top Track: “Water”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)