In a voyage from dark to light, the wanderer presents his journey.
In traditional folk fashion, singer-songwriter Armon Jay used his solo album, "Everything's Different, Nothing's Changed," to tell a story close to him: his own.
Throughout the neo-folk artist's solo debut, he reflects a sound similar to Bright Eyes and occasionally Bon Iver with the storytelling capabilities of Simon & Garfunkel. A stellar and honest first solo album, Jay has constructed the perfect example of what new folk has come to mean.
Starting with the solemn track, "Edge of the Dark," he builds to the quiet climax of the chorus. Here, he introduces the beginning of his journey.
With the line "On the edge of the dark, I will wait for the sun to rise," he introduces the listener to what he calls his desolation period. While often artists look to open their album with something more upbeat, the sincere lullaby is a pleasant surprise which leads to more intrigue rather than expectation.
Though listeners may complain that all folk music sounds the same, with Armon Jay, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, the album's neo-folk genre lends itself to more experimentation than traditional Americana approaches as seen in Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.
Each song, while cohesive with the rest of the album, has its own distinct style. By mixing sounds and testing the waters of this fairly new genre of folk, Jay is capable of telling his story of self-discovery without alienating the listener.
As the album accepts light as it comes to a close, the change is both obvious and welcome. The final track "Sunlight" rings with the lyrics, "In the sunlight, breaking out from the inside. Cause now I can see for the first time." It is this optimistic acceptance that gently brings the listener to a content ending in a lyrical acceptance of what is to come.
Jay has said his record is meant to follow a nearly chronological order where he goes from confusion and even depression to understanding and redemption. After listening to the album from the first song to the closer, it takes little effort to detect the rise to consolation.
While it sounds best listened straight through, "Everything's Different, Nothing's Changed" is a collection of humble constructions nearly anyone can relate to. Take a song out of context, and it remains just as important and understood as within the full story.
True, this album can be argued as a more emo, indie rock feel, but again, it is the storytelling capabilities of Jay's lyrics that brand it within the folk genre. Instrumentation may often reference a range of genres but as any folk connoisseur knows, the tale is all.