One man electronic projects are a dime a dozen. The saturation of this genre has thus made standing out a tough job for anyone getting involved. For Jason Drake’s project Cassettes Won’t Listen, there’s still a long road ahead. It was the Postal Service-coined alienation and heartbreak that gave the scene its credo, and Drake took hold of the style quite firmly, making it his calling card. His following work has since tried to carve out a niche that he can call his own. With each album and remix, he’s focused more and more on making a name for himself as an electronic artist, and not just another lonely guy piecing together a lonely record. Now on his third album, EVINSPACEY, Drake hacks away at a style that’s treading behind the curve, still hoping to catch a ride.
At the core of EVINSPACEY, Drake has written more of the same energetic, good natured tracks. Ultimately though, it doesn’t leave much to hold on to. The reality is the bulk of the album falls short of offering anything to write home about. It’s rather an album of attempts and near successes. A low key electronic venture, the ace material on EVINSPACEY is found in pieces of the songs, but never as a whole, leaving the rest to fall flat.
Opener “Friendly Float” is a promising start, establishing the intimate boundaries and building a sound that’s big enough to fill a bedroom, but never beyond. From there, however, things get choppy. “Harp Darkness” drags through the last two minutes and “Wave to the Winners” is pessimistic cheese. “Pick Me Out” tries as a party anthem, but doesn’t have the chops for the job. And these problems carry though much of the album, which is unfortunate.
To Drake’s credit, though, the glossy collection is quite modern, and his most eclectic with bigger bass drops, and a wider range of sounds, all soothed by his quiet adolescent vocals. The attempt to impress is felt, but ultimately uninteresting. Drake’s homemade beats remain amateur, as they have been since he ignited Cassettes. But that doesn’t mean everything is totally void of promise. The chorus of “The Night Shines” carries the signature enduring simplicity, with a heavy synth grind that picks the track up. The hook on “Stuck” is quite strong, touting a bouncing analog bleep and break beat. He’s earnestly reaching for an identity, and tracks like these get closer. However, it takes more than a few beats to make a memorable album. Perhaps he’ll learn that soon.