Artist: Jamie Randolph
Length: 54 minutes
Review by: Trevin Shirey
After listening to Villains three or four time through, I was still having trouble finding the right words to fit Jamie Randolph’s style of music. I thought of a couple different metaphors and created a few new sub-genres, but they didn’t seem to fit. After browsing the internet, I finally found the perfect way to describe Randolph’s unique style from his website (ironically enough). “[Jamie Randolph] relentlessly weds alt-country, theatrical indie-rock, and life-worn lyrics in a cathartic purge to rid hard memories by making them trophies of aesthetic cadence.” In terms of genre and style, this sums the album up greatly.
That’s the best part of Villains for me. Both Randolph’s musicianship and vocals are packed with genre-bridging range. The best part about Villains is the mysteriousness and variety of the album. At times, you hear Randolph belting out deep vocals with a beautiful raw edge. Then a few tracks later he’s singing softly with the sound of piano and violin in the background. All of Randolph’s strengths come together on the standout track Professional Time Killer. The best part on the song, and the album, is when Randolph belts into a duet with Annalisa Zellner.
The title of the album, Villain, reflects a dark theme that Randolph carries out well throughout the entire album. The lyrics remain dark, which is a great contrast to the mostly upbeat ballad-type melodies in the disc. Recurring themes like doubt and denial come together in the closing track Chanson Du Vampire, which is every bit as dark as is sounds. The song starts out like an upbeat acoustic pop sound, but once the chorus is booming and Randolph is singing “I am the villain of all this/I am the devil that you kiss” the villainous theme he displays throughout the album breaks out.
I haven’t found any weak spots on this album at all. The music and lyrics prevent itself in a genuine and sincere way that pulls the listener in right away. Jamie Randolph has created a disc in Villains that is good art at its best. He keeps the theme clear and delivers it with deadly accuracy through lyrical punchlines and innovative music.