Friday, June 13, 2014

Jack McLaughlin- From the Attic

Jack McLaughlin
From the Attic EP

Released: March 15, 2014

At only 14 years old, Jack McLaughlin has a lot going for him already: a good world-weary voice, wisdom beyond his years, and a backstory. Four years ago, Jack was fielding balls for a homerun derby when he was struck in the mouth. He was rushed to the ER with a broken jaw. A year later, he fell out of sports and found an interest in music. After playing in a variety of bands with his brother and various others, he decided to venture out as a solo artist. Here we are. 

From the Attic is a simple vocal/acoustic guitar combo that blends folk and gospel with some pretty impressive songwriting. Caretaker and You are both songs that could reflect Jack's Catholic upbringing as well as be about something more personal. Four Walls is a Springsteen-styled song about a failing relationship and the rumors surrounding it. Complete with under-utilized harmonica that appears only in the intro, and a faint Dylan-esque sneer he acquires in the third chorus, Four Walls gives the best picture for Jack's potential as a songwriter. 

Road Back Home is the only misfire on the EP. You know what this song sounds like before you even hear it, the type of song that was perfected by Ty Segall last year with The West, an upbeat rambling folk song about travelling, or getting away. The key here is to keep the momentum going, to keep the listener going, to sound like you are moving down the road, with only the sun at your back and your destination ahead. And Road Back Home gets it right out of the gate, but the momentum gets killed by the awkward palm-muted verses. 

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