Doing it all
JR Slayer, a moniker of Cody Votolato, is one of the many projects Votolato has had a hand in over the last 21 years. This month he released You Found Me, which is quite different from past works of Votolato’s, especially in The Blood Brothers. From post-hardcore to more experimental indie, Votolato proves that it is possible to do more than one thing creatively in the latest JR Slayer release.
The album gets off to a somewhat darker, synth-based vibe that might not be expected from followers of Votolato with the track “I’ll Never Leave You.” Toward the middle of the track there is a guitar riff that is as distorted as the vocals proceeding it, but somehow it sticks out in a refreshing way that keeps the track appealing. The vocals on the track are one of the only things that could use some type of improvement, in the sense that they tend to feel a little lazy. Although, overall, this is an appropriate sound for the track.
The vocal distortion lessens on “Half Lyfe,” allowing for Votolato’s vocals to come through a bit more. This track is a little more reminiscent of indie groups like Hellogoodbye with a sound that could either be heard in a live setting or in a garage during practice. The underlying acoustic guitar makes for a sound that is new compared to that of the opening track.
Beckoning to artists like Bright Eyes, “This Is Alone” brings another sound to the album, keeping it fresh. This time, a much more stripped down, vulnerable sound and feeling. The vibe of the track is very fitting considering the title. This is easily one of the hidden gems of the album, and it really lets the listener in on the talent Votolato has in the songwriting department.
The combination of outlandish sounds and deeper, almost spoken vocals makes for an almost MGMT-inspired feeling on the track “How Could Love B So Cruel.” This track brings the album back to the feeling it started on with “I’ll Never Leave You,” making it feel familiar all while being its own track at the same time. “How Could Love B So Cruel” is the type of song you queue up in the middle of a cityscape night drive.
The album wraps up with “40 Extra Minutes In Heaven,” which calls back to the Bright Eyes feeling that was present earlier on the album. However, this track makes sense as the final thing the listener will hear from JR Slayer. Overall, You Found Me is easily a testament to the versatility of Votolato as an artist and musician.