Jom Comyn has spent a lot of time in the darkness lately. On Jim Cuming’s last album, he was In the Dark, and now he’s visiting The Black Pits on his new EP. It’s as though Cuming feels at home in an absence of light, and that atmosphere suits his moody music just fine.
One thing immediately apparent in this new EP is the even more overt Edmonton DNA. The six songs (written in 2012 but recorded between 2014 and 2015) were each produced by a different person, from Liam Trimble (Diamond Mind) to Tyler Butler. And oh yeah, Renny Wilson mastered it.
The differing production brings slightly different flavours to Cuming’s enigmatic lyrics and powerful guitar-based arrangements. Nowhere is this more apparent than in “Stay Inside,” produced by Layne L’Heureux. The song pushes Comyn’s arrangements to the edge of the universe towards the end of the song, with a sudden swelling of electronics and noise. And yet the earlier part of the song still features some lyrical gems like “When the world comes to meet you halfway, go home.”
The pairing of “Quiet Dreams” and Tyler Butler is a match made in heaven. True to its name, the song has Cuming at his quietest, with just a lick of acoustic guitar to amplify his lyrics of “bloodshot evenings” and “gunshy infant morns” and “rambling pebbles.” Eric Cheng, who produced In the Dark, also takes on “Keep Trying”; even at less than 90 seconds, the crisp song manages to defy expectations.
It’s not until the EP’s title track that the imagery of the Black Pits come into full force. Liam Trimble produced and plays “most instruments” on this song, and he brings some slick bass and sprinkling of keys over a song Cuming sings a bit more quickly than the rest. Then comes the lyric: “In the blackest pit there was a shovel for me/Hold tight.”
The Black Pits is fear and hope struggling. It’s being led through the dark with a soothing presence you know will get you out safely.
Top Track: “Stay Inside”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)