Record Review - Jay Reatard: Watch Me Fall

Jay Reatard’s second proper album is a refined pop offering that oozes with three-chord depression and loathing. But whereas Blood Visions and his subsequent singles compilations were driven by scratchy, wide-eyed tantrums, “I’m Watching You” and “There Is No Sun” slow the formula down to a less-than-spastic pace. “It Ain’t Gonna Save Me” and “Hang Them All” are pedal-to-the-metal rockers, but their clean melodies and bright production are a jarring upgrade. It used to be the balance of noise and ramped-up melodies that made Reatard’s songs so addictive. With the noise factor greatly reduced, and the presence of a mandolin and cello throughout the album, it’s his ability to do a lot with minimal arrangements that strengthens the album. Some spontaneity is lost in this taming of the shrewd, but as an evolved next step, Watch Me Fall is a sophisticated offering. (Matador) 4 stars out of 5