- Jamie Krasner is best known as a collaborator, whether singing on Physical Therapy's jungle-pop oddity "Drone On" or making records with Gobby as SETH. PET, an album that collects previous singles and a brace of new tracks, suggests she's finally giving full attention to her own project, James K. At first, her solo style seems uncomfortably close to another's: the faintly Manga cover, the icy fog of reverb and the ethereal falsetto echo pre-Art Angels Grimes. But the similarities are only on the surface, and Krasner's songs soon plumb dark depths of their own.
Each side of PET gravitates towards a style. On the A it's an update of Cocteau Twins dream-pop. "Drunktrack," on which Krasner's voice floats over a watery synth hook, might be the prettiest of these; "Jellisy," with its jangling chords, ticks style boxes more directly. The album's second half indulges the trip-hop tendency that has long lurked in Krasner's downtempo beats. The homage is quite direct on the head-nodding "Nova," and barefaced on "Wetstone," where she does her best Beth Gibbons over plucked double bass and Rhodes-like chord clusters.
Throughout the album, that fog of reverb keeps everything in a similar emotional zone. This wouldn't be a problem if it weren't highlighted by some strange sequencing. Why choose the vague, six-minute "Bow (Submit Now!)" as your opener instead of skipping to the punchier tracks that follow? And why bulk out the album's latter half with the formless strumming of "R.I.P." or the insubstantial "Paranormal"? Coupled with the odd overlong coda elsewhere, these inclusions can make PET a monotonous listen.
Which is a shame, because the record isn't short on strong tracks. The best is "Sockit To Me Baby," a bizarre collision of bleepy techno and a swooning synth-pop lullaby. The two styles wrestle for your attention—an arc of burbling 303 here, a waft of synth pad there—but Krasner keeps them in a careful checkmate. Her collaborations have led to some unusual alchemies, and her solo work does, too.
01. Bow (Submit Now!)
03. Sokit to me Baby
06. Luv Me Too
10. Blu (Soda)