Illusion of Love

With all the bad that’s been taking place, there’s been a bit of good as well. One thing has been the artistic response—the flood of strong tunes, in particular. Some of them come from Jesse Marchant’s latest album, Illusion of Love. Marchant, formerly known as JBM, wrote these songs not just as a response to that bad, but also as a way to rise from it. He starts with “All These Kids I Never Knew,” a soft and roomy piano hook that Marchant layers with stark lines like “To be shot in the back while you were running away.” The album takes a sharp turn into the more ruckus “Heart of Mine,” with a hazy full band thrashing tastefully beneath Marchant’s driving choruses. The comparisons to Jim James are hard to ignore; Marchant’s voice has an eerily identical quality at times, but there’s something more contained about his delivery. These songs are undeniably pretty. This includes the warm and tasteful “Frame for One,” a simple arpeggiated electric line over a gentle snare pulse, with larger layers entering like breaths.