Lucas Jay is on a mission to save true pop from the evil forces that would see it butchered and sold off to the synthetic music market, and in his new single “Sunshine,” he issues a declaration of war through a romantic piece with just enough swing to get you swaying along to its virtuous crossover beat. While I wouldn’t call it hook-dependent, “Sunshine” boasts a killer harmony in its chorus that is almost guaranteed to get stuck in your head after even a cursory listening session. Its sophisticated but accessible melodies aren’t as common as they once were in pop – sad as it is to admit, they’re somewhat of a rarity these days.


The guitar parts in this track are loud and proud when they’re given the floor, but next to the textured bassline parts, I don’t think they’re quite as important to the construction of the trademark harmony here. Rather than focusing everything on his lyrical delivery, as most of his competitors in mainstream pop music would have done, Jay is spreading out the catharsis here and allowing for the instrumentation to serve as the cornerstone of the big thrills and chills (which is another reason to believe in his eminence this summer).

There’s an amazingly tuneful element to the light reverb on the percussion here that makes it feel even more like a live session than it does something recorded on multitrack inside the confines of a professional studio. It’s interesting how a little goes such a long way when developing the kind of pop tone that Jay has been since getting into the headlines this year, and to a large degree, he’s setting the kind of example that this new generation of players is really in need of following now that the hybridity of alternative pop is taking shape on the FM dial.

Though he’s shown us plenty of chops with the microphone in his hand before the release of this latest single, I think that Lucas Jay’s vocal is in the most unguarded state we’ve ever heard it before in “Sunshine.” His heart is on his sleeve, and even though the backing band is putting some extra mustard on this dog by the time we wrap around the chorus, there isn’t a solitary instance of the main focus in the music drifting away from where Jay wants it to be.

Indie pop is exploding like nobody’s business this summer, and if you look at the big picture as I have, artists like Lucas Jay are the number one reason why. Jay is playing for the sake of an entire culture here, and while he comes from a place of introspection as much as he is something just a little more observant in a performance like this one, he’s putting together the most in-depth and emotive pop sound of anyone in his scene with the release of this track. I have a good feeling about what’s awaiting him on the horizon, and if you haven’t already, I’d give “Sunshine” a close listen this month.

 Garth Thomas