Jay Legaspi – The.Tale.And (2005) – Indie singer-songwriter/acoustic rock

All I gotta say is New Jersey! That automatically gives Jay Legaspi five points. “Jersey Made, Jersey Fresh.” Damn right! Sorry, but I always take pride (and more often indignation) when my home state is mentioned, and in this case that is where Jay produced his second EP, The.Tale.And.. The EP is rather short, as most EPs are, tailing off at six. Recorded in the span of seven days in 2005, The.Tale.And. is a mix of acoustic guitar, beats, and Jay’s voice. But while this is a New Jersey product, I cannot altogether say I’m proud that it is.

It’s not that Jay’s an untalented musician or writer. It’s just that, well, to be frank, I was bored. Granted, two of the four times I was not in the best of moods – once I was noobing it up in Counterstrike (if any are interested my screen name is LemMdAwG, and I suck), and the other time I was stuck in “stupid drivers” traffic – but each listen through I was focusing more on what I was doing than the music. Now judging from Pat’s description of Mr. Jay, it seems like he’s quite passionate of his work and cares about what he’s doing – but then I suppose most every aspiring musician does – so I wanted to give as positive of a review as I could. But alas, time to put on my heartless, jackass reviewer face.

You see, part of the reason I am not so keen on the EP is simply the topic Jay sings about. I’ve already voiced my opinion about introspective/relationship lyrics in other reviews, and I guess that’s just my own personal dislike, so I won’t hold that against Jay. In truth, I write some of the cheesiest introspective crap in my journal so I can understand why people would want to sing about that sorta thing. It’s just that I wouldn’t. Really though, the bigger problem is that the vocals don’t really take any interesting turns. When you expect the hook that you’d hum along to, Jay instead maintains an almost monotone tune, or when you expect inflection in his voice it remains consistent. Part of the reason for his lack of hooks and timely inflections is because Jay has so much to sing about, and he’s running his mouth continuously with new words. He doesn’t really follow a verse chorus verse scheme, and I swear some of his songs are just one long verse. And perhaps this lack of formula, which some might consider a good thing, just never really could catch the attention of my simple mind.

Not everything was negative. I found the guitar strumming of “Try Wait” and “Time” to be catchy. In fact, when the songs strayed more away from the soul-like sound and more towards the acoustic rock I found the songs to be a lot easier to listen to. I like the hint of optimism in Jay’s lyrics, even when he sounds unhappy. Considering this is just an EP, the album is very tight and focused with perhaps the exception of the last song, “Ghost”, which I consider the best song of the album. “Ghost” takes a much different sound than the others, almost venturing into a whole ‘nother genre. It’s definitely the catchiest, and the lyrics transcend just the tale(tail) end of a relationship, talking about moving on, not being trapped by other’s expectations, and even some Asian American context. There’s so much more meaning in this one song than the others combined, and I personally like songs that have more than one meaning since it makes me feel more sophisticated than I actually am. This EP feels like a work in progress, like someone still trying to find a sound. Hopefully in the next EP or full length that Jay works on he will put more liveliness behind the many words he has to say, and that this is just a stepping stone for something more concrete and meaningful.

matty wise