On January 26th Jesse Marchant released his fourth album, Illusion of Love. This is a twelve track indie album involving both political and personal viewpoints dealing with love and also romance at diverse stages.
“All These Kids I Never Knew”, brings a spot light to a topic that deserves the sun. While a graceful piano melody plays in the background, Marchant discusses how love within the LGBTQA community has sadly been met with so much injustice, naive hate and horrible violence from those with unaccepting mindsets. This song is powerfully moving and a track worthy of a standing ovation. The next song, “Heart of Mine” turns love into an unsolvable math equation. With a rush of hushed exasperation, Marchant opens with lyrics, “Heart of mine, holding onto pieces that I left behind, like some fool who can’t get right. Lonesome kid of a thunderstorm seeking out a light. You might have been a pawn in a one night stand”. Although the lyrics are impactful, the background instruments sound unnaturally chaotic with differentiating tempos that harm the song more than benefit it. Following next is, “Distance is the Only Measure”. This song has an older air to it’s notes, as if an existing layer of dust lays on its measures and Marchant blows it away with his vocals. But similar to, “Heart of Mine” the instrumentals produce this frenzied, confusing sound that lessens the overall quality of the music.
“Sister, I” is sung with sorrow and hopelessness as the singer details feeling unnoticed and alone. Depending on your current head space, this may be a difficult song to listen to, but Marchant did an excellent job at capturing the emotions one experiences in life’s low points. With an energetic enthusiasm right from the start, “6 & 5” holds onto an up beat techno vibe throughout the song. Listeners may notice some moments where Marchant’s singing pattern feels slightly uncomfortable, with pauses that halt the song unnecessarily. The next track, “I’ve got Friends” details how there are people who wear fame and wealth like a mask, when deep down they’re suffering from the performance. It’s perhaps Marchant’s best song lyrically with lines such as, “I’ve got friends trading their lives for the first class seat, where alone they make it look easy for the passing people to be impressed, even though are dead.”
Marchant’s vocals sound clearer in, “In This Short Time”. His voice obtains a new strength, one that can better captivate listener’s attention. After “In This Short Time” plays, “Frame for One”, a track so wonderfully created that it stands out significantly. Midway through the song, Marchant’s sound intensifies with confidence and understanding as he expresses in lyrics, “I’d been following a lie or been a long time leading it. It’s foggy in my mind. So much pain. I’d been blurring the lines under a mountain of weight.” Marchant calmingly explains in, “Burning Red” how there are silent loves that remain hidden in certain friendships, but he encourages those to stop over analyzing their hearts and instead act with them.
“Nightships” is a quick paced track full of jazz strings and a soft violin, but the ending of this song becomes disoranting by how the instruments refuse to mend together well. It is as if this section of the track belongs in a separate song altogether. If you happen to be struggling with doubt, “Owl in the Dark” should be playing in your ear drums right now. It’s a song about letting past resentments go and overcoming the fears that narrow your opportunities. This track is beautifully honest and one many listeners will be able to resonate with. Lastly, “Illusions of Love” carefully slow dances with a tamed, relaxed tempo throughout the track. Marchant confesses in a despondent tone of a lost love he hasn’t let go of yet and ends this track questioning those listening, “Who do you love?”
If you truly want to experience the most out of this album, pay close attention to Marchant’s lyrics. Though he may not experiment with his voice often and the instrumentals are not always aligned, his words sing volumes. These are the rare lyrics people prefer to lose themselves in over and over again.