Riveting vocalism, all but cracking from the sheer emotion piled behind the lyrics, is what seems to be Jack Kays’ game. When he first teamed up with BLINK-182’s Travis Barker late last year for a searing slow-burner of an ode to self-abandonment, “OUTRUN MYSELF”, I was impressed at the amount of sentiment pushed behind the taught piano lines.
But that was before MY FAVORITE NIGHTMARES: a four-track EP fraught with similar fervour, carried on the back of an extended collaboration with Barker, which dropped a few weeks ago. The fleeting emotion-fuelled deep-dive into the darkened mind of crippled mental health takes its cues from 2000’s alt-rock, rather more modern hip hop proclivities, and a healthy dose of unsettling nuance.
Opener “SIDEWAYS” takes a rollicking rock stance, Barker provides the driving drums as Kays waxes lyrical on drinking himself sideways as a coping mechanism. It comes along with an appropriately unnerving video which sees Kays dragging a plastic-wrapped body through the night and, the whites of his eyes flashing against a lighter flame, setting it alight – before low-lit studio performance shots fill out the rest of the visual.
But it’s the unexpected acoustic backbone of the EP as a whole that largely sets it apart. “DROWN” keeps things simplistic, with a singular guitar line underpinning the cracked and emotionally-splitting vocalism which follows. This might be Kays at his most sincere and unsettling. Then “DIRTY MONEY” spits half-rapped bars with venom.
There’s also an element of classic punk rock which underpins the whole thing. No middle finger raised to the man, rather a middle finger raised to himself as he digs himself out of a mental-health induced rut. There’s something remarkably authentic about Kays, beneath his tormented exterior, a subtle nuance half-hidden that only time on the scene will unfurl.
Feature pic supplied by artist.