free download: inky jack land a dub sound system on mars with their debut ep! #soundcheck

June 10, 2013

If you describe yourself as being inspired by both Luther Vandross AND Nine Inch Nails, you have my attention. (fun fact: Both collaborated with David Bowie!) Inky Jack made some waves when they released their debut single “Red For Days” last year on Famous / Universal, but label issues delayed the release of their debut EP until now.

The Inky Jack EP (by Inky Jack. Featuring the song “Inky Jack.” Because why not?) throws a whole lot more than Luther and Trent into the mix. Chiptune blips, dub bass, Flaming Lips ambience, Passion Pit synths and an ear for wide open hooks elevate the EP. One of the cooler things about the record (especially evident on tracks like “Radar” and “Let It Go”) is the way Inky Jack makes use of dub techniques and idioms to make music that sounds nothing like dub. The emphasis on space, groove, and repetition is there, but in service of synth-driven alt-rock. It’s like they took a 1970’s Kingston sound system, disassembled it, and used the pieces to build a space ship.

“Red For Days” remains a standout, while newest single “Handmade” is where Inky Jack earns their Luther Vandross / NIN crossover appeal. Driven by Nintendo syths and singer Kwame’s most soulful vocal on the record, “Handmade” finds Inky Jack making unexpected connections between seemingly unrelated sounds. As the outro goes, “tell a friend to tell a friend.”

– Words by Nathan Leigh