JT Daly – Memory

By Carter Fraser on May-6-2012 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , , , | Share

JT Daly – Memory
Score: 2/5Score: 2/5Score: 2/5Score: 2/5Score: 2/52
4.4 (10 votes)

Artist: JT Daly (Spotify)
Title: Memory
Label: Blood Bathe Records
Release Date: 4/17/12
Reviewer: Carter Fraser

Tracklisting:

  1. Things Will Never Be The Same
  2. Memory
  3. Hymn (Lord, I Need Time)
  4. Love from Dust, Blood, and Rust
  5. Youth
  6. Boys and Girls
  7. Oberlin
  8. You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine
  9. No Other
  10. Children of God

In the midst of the never-ending delays of Paper Route’s follow up to 2009’s Absence, Paper Route vocalist JT Daly released his full-length solo effort Memory somewhat under the radar. Touted by Daly as being written without the thought of people ever hearing it, Memory might be expected to be an even more intimate exploration of the softer, more reflective moments of Absence, such as “Dance On Our Graves” and “Are We All Forgotten,” but this is not the case. Instead, Memory comes off as more distant and more blown up; the big synth climaxes have less substance and seem to just happen, rather than evolve from intimate textural melodies. Daly himself seems to hide behind this wall of sound as well, rarely stepping out to take a strong lead vocally as he did so well on Absence. What we’re left with is something that sounds undeniably pretty, but is almost entirely without consequence.

M83 comparisons are inevitable, as Daly has taken his solo effort somewhat away from the indie rock foundation of Paper Route in favor of an electro-shoegazing style similar to that of the breakout French group. Daly, though, struggles to recreate the exuberance that M83 can command; through the droning, there’s just, well, droning. It seems directionless throughout, as Daly is too frequently unable to produce any sort of mood whatsoever. There are exceptions, such as the melancholy, Radiohead-y closer “Children of God” and the grand, well-executed rocker (if the term still applies) “Boys and Girls,” but as a whole Memory fails to step out and find itself. Not that anything here is outright bad, but Daly’s melodies just seem to miss the mark.

Daly’s vocal effects frequently blend his voice into the soundscape, but to what end? It often seems as though he wished to highlight the wall of sound above all else, but unfortunately this wall is fairly drab. Title track “Memory” avoids this best, slowly building into its vaulted-ceiling chorus. It’s one of the few times that there is adequate subtlety to fully reach the heights set out for, but even then the song fades out almost as soon as it reaches full steam. As the album progresses tracks like ”You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine” become more frequent, with Daly allowing his voice to take the helm to a greater degree, but the result isn’t particularly memorable. One of the odder cuts is “Oberlin,” which comes across as a moderately successful attempt at a southern-electro sound. At a bare minimum it’s one of the more interesting moments presented, but it more or less blends in with the mellow monotony that is all to frequent on Memory.

Overall: Maybe I’m being a bit too harsh, but Daly has shown to be capable of much more with Paper Route. Memory leaves more questions than answers. Where exactly was Daly going with this? Were we supposed to be youthfully exhilarated or gently dispirited? Ultimately, Memory does neither, and despite going through motions that should be comfortable territory, it manages to come off as almost entirely without substance.

RILY: Paper Route, M83, Brothers Martin

JT Daly - Memory, 4.4 out of 5 based on 10 ratings

Click here to list all the current reviews by Carter Fraser

About the author Carter Fraser

I'm a student originally from Arlington, TX, but currently residing in St. Louis, MO. I enjoy music, going to concerts, playing and watching baseball, working with my hands, fishing, art, Minecraft, and sleeping/eating/other necessary activities for life. Long walks on the beach are acceptable as well. View all posts by Carter Fraser

11 Responses to 'JT Daly – Memory'

  1. Dang, I loved Absence, that sucks that this didn’t even compare.

  2. Dustin Schriffert says:

    This is really unfortunate. Not because of the album, but because the reviewer can’t see the beauty of this incredible piece. From beginning to end, it’s full of amazing, passionate lyrics and very appropriate, rich sounds that create such a perfect blend that really capture the tragic beauty of these personal experiences that JT went through. It’s a huge gift just for us to listen to an album that was never intended to reach anyone’s ears but his own. For JT to put together a whole album completely on his own is an accomplishment on its own, and that should warrant 40 minutes of your time to sit and listen to this album without any distractions and appreciate the raw talent that goes into making this album.

    I respect that you have your opinion and I have mine, but I feel like your review absolutely misses the mark. Maybe you went into this with certain expectations, and didn’t get what you expected. All of your explanations for your reasoning don’t line up with anything that happens on the album. I’m just bummed you won’t get to feel the astounding emotions that I went through while listening to this album.

  3. mischa anderson says:

    i’m really at a loss for words here. it’s unfortunate that you don’t see JT’s record in the same light as so many others do. of course, we’re all entitled to our opinions. here’s mine:

    did you actually listen to this record? like, really listen to it? i feel like you completely missed the point…as well as the most important stories behind its creation. i think if proper research was done before/while listening, your review wouldn’t come off as so one sided and (honestly) completely eye-roll-inducing.. especially to avid paper route followers, like myself. JT never expected these songs to see the light of day, true. to you, it’s a rushed project to placate impatient paper route fans until their new record is released (refer to sentence #1). for me and many others, that’s the magic behind the whole thing.

    i have never known a more generous and deserving group of artists as paper route. they are constantly getting rugs ripped out from under them, yet they always persevere and strive to stay positive and keep their fans happy. in the midst of [yet another] label issue completely beyond their control, JT decided to put aside whatever reservations he might have had about this side project and share it with everyone. i have the utmost respect for someone who constantly looks past the negative label/life experiences, with their eyes focused to the light at the end of the tunnel.

    back to the music… i can understand comparing certain artists to others in order to give outsiders an idea of what they can expect when they listen. what i don’t understand is how one can compare, and then degrade one over the other. every artist has their own identity, their own fingerprint, their own audience, etc. JT is certainly no exception. and with nothing substantial to back up your statements, i’m afraid your words are even less effective. and vocals .. aside from what i’ve heard from paper route’s new record, JT has never sounded so strong.

    i think what hit me the hardest is “..almost entirely without substance.” if i’ve learned anything about paper route (and, essentially, JT) over the years, nothing they do is ever without substance. it’s just layered in their genetic makeup. i don’t know how else to describe it. reading that felt like a sucker punch. it’s like we are listening to two different records here…

    i’m really sorry that you aren’t moved by the honesty laced in each word.. each note.

    • To respond jointly to both your comment and Dustin Schriffert’s….

      “For JT to put together a whole album completely on his own is an accomplishment on its own”

      ——-The mere act of putting out a finished project does deserve bring merit in of itself. Albums are released all the time, and they’re all difficult to make. This is not to say that Daly had an easy task of recording this, but the circumstances to which it was recorded under shouldn’t compensate for anything.

      “that should warrant 40 minutes of your time to sit and listen to this album without any distractions”

      “did you actually listen to this record? like, really listen to it?”

      ——-I did, believe it or not, listen to this album multiple times, with intent, and I am quite honestly a bit offended that you would suggest otherwise.

      “i think if proper research was done before/while listening, your review wouldn’t come off as so one sided and (honestly) completely eye-roll-inducing.. especially to avid paper route followers, like myself.”

      ——-I did the research and am familiar of the circumstances of this release. I’ve followed Daly on twitter for quite some time, and I read interviews with him before writing this review. And while I am a Paper Route fan and have been for quite some time, my status a “fan” should not affect my ability to write on any artist.

      “i have never known a more generous and deserving group of artists as paper route.”

      ——-This is great and I applaud them as humans and Christians, but it does not affect the music.

      “i can understand comparing certain artists to others in order to give outsiders an idea of what they can expect when they listen. what i don’t understand is how one can compare, and then degrade one over the other.”

      ——-I’m honestly not quite sure what my job as a reviewer is then. As a reviewer and a critic, I can’t just cover music that I feel deserves high recommendation. This would be as if, say, Rotten Tomatoes only covered movies that were well received by critics and deleted movies that weren’t from their database.

      For what it’s worth, this would be on the higher end of the “2″ spectrum for me.

  4. emily o. says:

    I’m having a hard time with this review, purely because its author has missed out on truly experiencing this album. This is an incredible collection of songs, that take you on a journey from start to finish. JT Daly’s storytelling abilities are tremendous, and he proves it once more, with ‘Memory.’

    I’ve always admired his honesty in the lyrics he writes, and in the way he delivers each song he performs. We are so fortunate to be let into this part of his world, to be part of something that was not meant to be heard at one point… I don’t know about you, but that fills me up with joy and inspiration.

    The comment “… it manages to come off as almost entirely without substance,” hurts the most. It makes me wonder whether we were listening to the same album altogether. I hope every listener will spend time with this album, soak every lovely little moment, intertwined in each word, each line, each song. And lastly, those of us, who have known JT for years now—through Paper Route—know that he would never release something that he was unsure of, or didn’t see fit to represent him as an artist or human being. He has put his heart and soul into this project, and that shows. I’m sorry you couldn’t see/hear that. I hope everyone else will.

  5. JoshIVM says:

    Since I’m a big fan of Paper Route I will have to check this out. However, I think I will probably enjoy it more than you seemed to. Since I mainly view music an entertainment it really comes down to how enjoyable the sounds are.

    • JoshIVM says:

      I was wrong. This album is very disappointing to me as I only found a few tracks to be remotely engaging. I’ll just have to wait til Paper Route’s new one releases.

  6. Todd says:

    Carter, thanks for the review. I, in fact greatly enjoyed ‘Memory’ but that okay, I’m just glad to see it on here.

  7. Richard says:

    If it’s anything like the immature half of Absence or “Better Life,” I can totally get this review.

    I haven’t heard the album yet, however.

  8. Chanele McGuinness says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with your review. I know this is what you do as a “reviewer” but I really believe you’ve missed out on something so beautiful here. I’ve been listening to this record since its release date. I’ve listened to it on a 12 hour flight, on numberous 6/7 hour bus journeys, the crammed subways, its sang me to sleep but not once have I felt any of the thoughts you’ve shared with everyone here.
    “It seems directionless throughout, as Daly is too frequently unable to produce any sort of mood whatsoever.”
    When I read this all I could think was the opposite. I sit here looking through the tracklist and there is literally not one song that didn’t set a tone and make me feel something. I’ve been brought to tears by tracks like “Youth” and “No Other” and then felt the complete joy because of tracks like “Memory” and “Children Of God”. I know you’ve said that you really have taken the time to sit down and really listen to this record but I just find that so hard to believe after reading this review. If you really listened to each layer that fits together so brilliantly, each instrument, each honest word and beautiful memory brought to life-I really don’t think this review would be so unnecessarily harsh. I personally think that you’ve made an unfair judgement of such a special record but I am glad that after reading this review, I know that I (and a lot of others above me) have gotten so much from this record and have been able to fully appreciate this beautiful, honest art, unlike some.
    Its a shame that this review will probably be the first impression people get of such an incredible record.
    I just hope that they will give it an open-minded, fair chance before taking this review seriously.

  9. JoshIVM says:

    In the age of Facebook, Spotify, Youtube, etc. I’m not sure why anyone would read a review & only check an album out based upon the writer’s subjective opinion. Glad to see some discussion on the album but these commenters fail to realize they are just expressing their subjective opinions as well.

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