Share "BAN-ER-JEE." JUST LIKE IT'S SPELLED- Jay Banerjee (Sweetheart Beats Music)
Wow. That's an unabashed superlative and it needs to be repeated for effect. So, Wow. Again. New Yorker Jay Banerjee plays wordy, cynical, songs about broken hearts - his, hers and yours - that most powerpoppers with Rickebackers and dreams of airplay would give their Big Star LP collections to write.
Banerjee makes his home in Brooklyn, which is the new musical hub in NYC by all accounts, and has been collecting favourable reviews like Charlie Sheen attracts coke slut porn stars. Paul Collins shared a bill with him recently, so there's a clue about where Jay is coming from, musically.
There's a quote about cynicism being the intellectual cripple's version of intelligence. It's bullshit, of course, but if it was true we'd all be hailing Jay Banerjee for winning a swag of medals at pop's Special Olympics. His lyrics are diametrically at odds with most of his hook-laden music and they tend to indicate that Jay's love-life has been sucking worse than Julian Assange's. He's been flicked like a pubic hair on a toilet seat more times than he cares to count. Jay is pissed off and he's going to let the girls responsible know all about it. The ultimate justice would be hearing him doing this all over the radio airwaves. We can be thankful there are probably no sextapes for Jay to leak.
It's a battle working out which song to start heaping praise on first. Let's give it to the opener, "Dear Donna", a bye-bye letter with a backbeat and jangle chording that invites us to read it. Resigned and bittersweet, it's a gem, bit there are others.
Jay has a great voice and uses it to ride the rolling melody line of "Long Way Home" like a spurned boyfriend with lots to day and just over three minutes to do it. "Just Another Day" is the Byrds with powerpop ambitions. "The Boy In Hand" mixes wistful harmonica with handclaps (who doesn't love handclaps) to better the Mop Tops at their own beat game.
"Kate" tells some chick (whose name is Kate, I'm guessing): "I think the problem is you've got/Too many feelings" and is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black, but it's such a brilliant pop song that you'll have to play it again. "Lindsay" is bouncier than Ben Bernanke's executive stress ball but you just know this girl's going to keep giving Jay the cold shoulder until climate changes causes hell to freezes over or Sarah Palin wins Mastermind. Whatever comes first. My money's on Satan catching a chill.
Melodies and a cool pop beat are the only things that are going to get married in the fab "Your Beating Heart", and if "Leave Me Alone" doesn't make the soundtrack of some big studio chick flick and earn Banerjee a Grammy nomination, I'll chase down a job as Roger McGuin's walking frame roadie.
Production is minimal, even low key, but the down home vibe suits the songs to a tee. Banarjee played all the instruments but hires hotshots to do his thing live. And, no, I'd never heard of Banerjee either until a three-track EP landed in the mailbox in mid-2010 and sat me on my arse. Don't ask me why a review of that hasn't preceded this because it was mostly fine demo versions of songs that ended up on the album. Hopefully, this write-up makes amends because this is pop music worth making a fuss about. See if you can convince Jay to sell you a copy by dropping him a line here or let iTunes be your fulfilment channel of choice. - The Barman
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