Running The Spectrum kicks off with the catchy, piano-driven single, “Through Your Eyes.” The song is full of rich instrumentals with cinematic quality, and some stellar bass. With wonderful lyrics and an upbeat tone, this song is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, featuring an infectious optimism that provides a whisper of encouragement. Michael Jayson provides an ideal introduction to his sound. However, that’s not to say the singer/songwriter doesn’t show versatility, with tracks filled with more attitude, such as “Same As Me,” with an edgier undertone, almost reminiscent of a punk track. Then the folk presence comes out full gear. Instrumentally, it’s not got the same excitement or intricacy of its predecessor, but there is an honesty in the commentary of a modern relationship; knowing what’s too fast or too slow or how you’re “supposed” to feel, as well as just a plea to give a relationship a try. There’s something very late 90s-early 2000s about the track (think Tal Bachman).
“A Letter” features an entrancing guitar introduction; it’s a soft track with rhythm that comes in perfectly. The song is rich in quality, and the storytelling talents of Michael Jayson are more than evident on this track, with the idea of seeing how someone you once knew turning out how you’d imagined them, and feeling happy for them even if you’ll never see each other again. It could almost be the other side of the story on “Better Days.” The former is pessimistic about a relationship that’s reached its end, but optimistic about leaving being for the best, developing an interesting contrast. “Better days are not coming ahead,” the song seems to say, like a plea not to waste time waiting for better days that may never come. It is a bold statement on the EP, but Michael Jayson takes it one step further…
Hands down one of the best tracks on Running The Spectrum, “What’s His Name” is edgier, bolder, and showcases an almost bitter side to Jayson, whose storytelling talents manage to get pushed the extra mile. Seemingly without trying, the song sets the scene both lyrically and instrumentally; I almost automatically picture a summer night with tension that you could cut with a knife. There is a sad theme of giving your all to someone who started out great, but is not backing away. “What’s his name” doesn’t really appear to be so much a question as a case of, “What’s his name walked out last night…” It’s almost like telling someone to forget the person, or saying that you’re living with a stranger.
“Second Thoughts” finishes Running The Spectrum off by coming back to the softness that seemed to start the album off, and, coincidentally, bringing the EP full circle. Again, the track features rich instrumentals; it’s a song about coming home, even if only in your mind. It is beautiful in its own right, and really makes the EP sound more like a success from start to finish.
As an introduction, I find Running The Spectrum to be a wonderful declarative statement of who Michael Jayson is as an artist. The more I listen, the more I find myself excited by the prospect of where he will end up on the spectrum himself (pun not intended).
For more on Michael Jayson or to pre-order Running The Spectrum, click HERE.