Hearts Are Magnets

Jason Reeves

Independent release, 2007


REVIEW BY: Melanie Love


There’s always a fine line to walk when it comes to earnestly soulful singer-songwriters armed with acoustic guitars. For every Elliott Smith whose lyrics are consistently pure genius, there’s a thousand more clichéd hacks drowning in self-sorrows and emo. So where does Iowa native and recent Los Angeles transplant Jason Reeves fall within the fray on his latest EP?

Ever the discerning critic, I was pretty much sold just by seeing the album’s beautifully lush cover art and, because I’m such a sucker for a good metaphor, the title Hearts Are Magnets. But now that I’ve rambled for 90-something words without ever actually mentioning Reeves’ songs, let’s get to the music itself. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Hearts Are Magnets opens with the quietly gorgeous “Photographs And Memories,” which combines softly chiming piano, understated acoustic guitar and Reeves’ soaring, graceful voice to create a powerful anthem of love and longing. “I need your smile, I need your eyes, I need you dear / ’Cause every line on your face makes a beautiful maze for my eyes to trace,” he sings and every word cuts deep to the heart, his clear-eyed honesty and the track’s subtly crafted melody lines ultimately rendering it unforgettable..

Drawing inspiration from Bob Dylan and James Taylor, among numerous others, Reeves’ songs are simple but never simplistic portrayals of love’s intricacies infused with a blank canvas sense of imagination. Among these is “Pretty Eyes,” a lovelorn yet simultaneously optimistic song in the same vein as “Photographs and Memories.” Backed by lilting guitar and downbeat drums, the soulful, endearing vocals are nevertheless what truly shine, allowing the song’s sole somewhat awkward line, “You couldn’t see the road and it was scaring me / How beautiful you are when you get crazy,” nevertheless sound poetic and profound.

Next up is “Gasoline,” the EP’s most high-energy track and proof Reeves can seamlessly transition from ballads without skipping a beat. Replete with a catchy chorus and thrumming guitar riffs along with one of the most oddly intriguing lyrics I’ve heard of late (“And I’m burning up much faster than Keith Richards on PCP”), “Gasoline” is inherently radio-friendly as well as an instant favorite of mine.

“Honestly” and “The Sun Shines On Everything” veer the album back towards a less intensive pace; both relatable and heartfelt, Reeves further displays a gift for crafting memorable melodies as well as consistently delivering engaging, expressive vocals.

On Hearts Are Magnets, Jason Reeves bypasses any notion of dime-store metaphors to emerge as a force to be reckoned with; more than just a musician, he is as poet, adeptly sculpting lyrical imagery that resounds far beyond the bounds of a half-hour EP.

Rating: A-

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© 2007 Melanie Love and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Independent release, and is used for informational purposes only.