Release Date: July 23, 2021 Genre: Pop Rock, Indie Pop Label: Hopeless Records
Los Angeles-based indie pop/pop-rock artist Jared Gaines, professionally known musically as Vaines, has prepared his first ever EP, Electric Blue, for release on July 23, 2021, via Hopeless Records. Vaines is looking to break the norms of the music industry, both by creating genre-defying music and breaking the conventional recording model by recording and producing his music from the convenience of his bedroom. Additionally, Vaines solely writes every one of his songs and all the instruments featured on his mixes are performed all by himself.
Earlier in his life had a love for skateboarding and hitting up local libraries for Thrasher magazines but was promptly interrupted when he was twelve years old when his dad purchased Vaines' very first guitar. He went on to perform at numerous talent shows and creating musical performances for his family. Soon after, he did not find any comfort playing in bands and shifted gears to become a solo artist. Vaine's inspirations to go solo came from "one man generational" artists such as Joji, Blackbear, and Post Malone. Additionally, Vaines still refuses to be pigeonholed into any specific genre. It's evident on Electric Blue, Vaine's wasn't looking to be dabbling in one genre. Fast forward to 2017, he moved to Los Angeles, California, to further his music career. He ended up crashing at a friend's place, where he purchased $200 in studio equipment and immediately got to work writing all different styles of music.
Vaines' Electric Blue EP opens with the lead single, "acidtrip." The track begins with a fascinating atmospheric synth line, a thick bassline comes in, and the strong pounding drums fill it in to showcase a pop song. As Vaines begins to sing, he tells a story of how it feels to be in a toxic relationship and when you lose control of it. A little later in the song, a melodic guitar line is performed, and Vaines changes his singing style to take the track to new heights and takes the song into the pop-rock territory. Vaines' unorthodox songwriting style displayed on the debut EP's five tracks is in reverse perspective. On these tracks, he tackles distance, the fear of commitment, and how it can make other people around him feel lonely. The songwriting technique helps Vaines process his self-diagnosed "toxic behaviour" by correcting these behaviours and becoming a better person as a result.
The EP's second track, "thewaves," begins with Vaines playing another melodic guitar line that's utterly infectious. As the song builds, pulsing bass and synth overtake the guitar until the song's chorus, where Vaines turns the volume knob to eleven and belts out the tracks infectious melody over the guitar again. Near the end of the track, there's a blistering guitar solo to boot. "disappear" is a more straightforward track that doesn't bring too much new to the table. However, Vaines includes backing vocals on this song to add a new layer to what the previous two tracks delivered. Once again, the track is irresistibly catchy. Electric Blue's fourth track, "closertoyou," is yet another banger. "closertoyou" has this ominous vibe to it with its wobbly bassline that plays throughout, the way Vaines emotively sings the songs lyrics, and the bridge's dark, atmospheric synth. The fifth and final track on Electric Blue is "heaven." The track displays the song energy as the first three tracks, displays Vaines' falsetto, and again, his monstrous melodic guitar stylings, bundled with throbbing bass, bass drums, snares, and tons of use of the drum's hi-hat.
While Vaines doesn't want to be pigeonholed into one genre, the EP teeters heavily into the pop side of his songwriting with absolute ease. I can't account for what other genres he has dabbled in getting to this point in his career, but I would safely say that in the future, he may branch off this EP and venture into new territories musically. While Electric Blue doesn't entirely bring anything new to the genre, the EP is a fun listen with endlessly infectious tunes and showcases a unique songwriting style that makes it stick out to me. Be sure to check out Electric Blue on July 23 by purchasing or pre-saving the album, and watch out for even more from this talented, up-and-coming songwriter as he will continue to mature as time goes on.