Jay Allen: 'Dearest Echo'

Jay Allen

Dearest Echo

Ex-Dixieghost singer/guitarist Jay Allen's solo album is an explicit departure from his former band's folky Southern-gothic rock. On Dearest Echo, Allen matches thick, ambient guitar and synthesizer with Britpop melodies for an approximation of Radiohead, or Wilco at its most expansive. There are hints of Dixieghost's roots in the bluesy strut of "Idiot's Guide" and the delicate folk guitar on "Blue Jay," but the new disc feels altogether urban and contemporary compared to Dixieghost's rustic pretense. Dearest Echo could use a couple of livelier songs—the glacial pace starts to drag about two-thirds of the way through—but Allen's solid voice has a forlorn quality that works with the music's depressive tone.