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Jack Kays joins forces with Travis Barker again for a searing alt-rock ode to mental health called, MY FAVORITE NIGHTMARES

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.