With a potent piano melody to lead the way, the leadoff single from Jeremy Rice’s debut album Jeremy Rice and the Legendary Fist of Takinawa, “Somebody Like You,” fills the air with an anxious rhythm and a subtle swing inside of a four minute pop track perfect for the autumn season. “Somebody Like You” is a relatively simple song, but what it lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in virtuosic harmonies, which blanket its lyrical content in rich textures that are so rarely found in contemporary indie rock anymore. Jeremy Rice pulls out all the stops to deliver a solid pop gem in Jeremy Rice and the Legendary Fist of Takinawa, and although it’s a bit rough around the edges, this is one debut LP I would tell any sensible indie enthusiast to check out this November just the same.
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Every song on the record has a really warm feel to it, from the staggered string play of “Arriianne” to the reserved melody in “Nme,” but there’s something particularly special about the piano and guitar parts that magnify the emotion in Rice’s vocal throughout the tracklist. The exotic “Underneath the Ground” would be nothing without its ska-influenced fretwork, and although acoustic guitar charms are only one component in the big picture of “Dream Tonight,” they play as important a role as the percussion in “Johnny Rogers” and striking piano thrust in “Beleev” does with regards to making the music tangible to a mass audience.
I’m really looking forward to hearing more from Jeremy Rice in the near future. His songwriting skills are a bit unfiltered in tracks like “Goodbye” and “The Legendary Fist of Takinawa,” but there’s a surreal intimacy to his lyrics from start to finish in this record that make me very curious about what he’s going to produce once he grows into this sound a little more than he already has. He’s got plenty of competition waiting for him south of the border, but in terms of the Canadian underground, his is easily one of the more affectual debuts that I’ve had the pleasure of sampling from in the whole of the autumn season this year.