The jarring, sculptural rhythms on English musician Jack Latham’s (aka Jam City) 2012 debut, Classical Curves, existed on house and techno’s futuristic outskirts. His follow-up is much easier to zone out to, though the whoosh of abrasive beats frequently threatens the gentle riffs and pleasingly woozy synths.
The mix of destabilizing, blissed-out sounds underscores a paradox inherent in the lyrics’ critique of capitalism. The songs touch on the alienating effects of consumerism, drugs, depression and porn, and yet once these themes are set to pop melodies, they become relatable, universal.
As the title suggests, Dream A Garden is an earthy album compared to Classical Curves, but its contrasting sounds are full of impressive and subtle three-dimensionality. Latham’s plaintive voice sounds like it’s emanating from some romantically ruinous daydream. The effect suits the mood but makes his lyrics difficult to decipher, which is frustrating given his pointed message.
Top track: Crisis