Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Paul Jacks released his fourth studio album, Amphibious, following on the heels of the new wave flavours of 2019’s In Other Words and the anti-utopian darkness of his 2020 album, Black Jackal.
On Amphibious, Jacks changes stylistic direction, venturing into new sonic territory.
“I’m constantly on a journey of learning, and trying to create a new sound and explore,” says Jacks, who is determined to “not get pigeon-holed into one genre.”
As Amphibious began to take shape, Jacks searched for a producer so that he could “focus on the lyrics and the themes and the emotions.” Enter Alex Newport, the British-born, L.A.-based producer and composer. Newport encouraged Jacks to flesh out songs during the recording process.
The result is an album awash in gentle, glossy aromas of indie-pop amalgamated with piano-rock-lite textures.
Comprising nine tracks, Amphibious begins with “If I Were a Better Man,” riding a low-slung, propulsive rhythm full of soft, shimmering layers of sound topped by Jacks’ dreamy, wistful vocals, revealing the residue of a failed relationship.
Entry points include “Brand New Shame,” with its drifting motion offering undulating, gossamer surfaces. Whereas “Left In A Haste” blends an upbeat pop-laced rhythm with tints of pop-rock into a bouncy tune brimming with effervescent energy.
The title track rolls out on sensitive piano tones, imbuing the melody with indulgent, sweeping surfaces as Jacks’ tender voice gives the lyrics profound sentiments.
Travelling on darker colours, “Walk on Five” conveys a feeling of purpose – the intent to grow and expand both spiritually and personally.
Perhaps the best track on the album, “My Love Has to Ask,” features elements of Motown pop, resonant and thick with gleaming coloration and shiny vibrancy.
With Amphibious, Paul Jacks delivers pure-pleasure, warm veneers of silky pop melodies, along with rich, smooth vocals.
Amphibious Track Listing:
1. If I Were A Better Man
2. Brand New Shame
3. Left in A Haste
4. Die For Your Love
6. That Girl
7. Walk On Five
8. Real Life
9. My Love Has to Ask
Run Time: 27:35
Release Date: March 3, 2023
Record Label: Tritone Records