Folk-pop extraordinaire Nick Jaina likes his musicians like we like our news: constantly rotating and frequently updated. The local songwriter is in the process of wrapping up his full-length followup to The Beanstalks That Have Brought Us Here are Gone, a 10-song collection of literate tunes written by Jaina, but performed by a myriad of female vocalists back in 2011. Although he’s been quite busy as of late—he composed music for the Oregon Ballet Theatre, an original play, and the upcoming film Cement Suitcase—he’s also somehow managed to record an entire album.
The newest cut off his forthcoming release, Primary Perception, opens with a gentle splashing of keys and a light barrage of drums before introducing crisp, electric guitar and harmony-rich backing vocals into the mix. The uptempo, three-minute track, titled “Don’t Come to Me,” gracefully fuses pop and rock without sacrificing either in the process, providing a delicate groove on which Jaina’s soft-spoken voice can sink right in. It’s is a pleasing little gem, despite lyrical content pertaining to a troubled relationship, and little less folk-like than some of songwriter’s previous efforts. The mild departure is not surprising though, given that the album features a wealth of notable musicians including Dave Depper (Fruit Bats), Scott Magee (Y La Bamba) and Daniel Hunt (Ages and Ages) among others.
I seldom make it to the ballet (actually never), so a traditional album from Jaina is more than welcome—especially if “Don’t Come to Me,” is any indication of where the rest of the tunes are headed. Primary Perception will be released April 14 on Portland's Fluff & Gravy Records.