By Tiffany Razzano
On his second EP, Darkblue, New York born-and-raised, currently California-based, singer/songwriter Jared Barkan once again shows off his gorgeous guitar playing and vocals. Citing a variety of influences, from Elliott Smith to Steely Dan, the melodic beauty of his tunes belies the somber and pensive qualities of his subject matter.
Not only are his vocals incredibly reminiscent of Smith, but the melancholic beauty of his songwriting is as well. This can especially be heard on his second, and title track, an acoustic number. His chorus blends these elements of Smith with the laid-back tunefulness of ’60s folk-rock, such as Simon and Garfunkel and the Mamas and the Papas.
Barkan goes electric on the third song, “Here We Go.” Again, a strong Smith influence can be heard. This is an influence that can be heard throughout the EP.
The fourth song, “Darkstar,” is much poppier, with his vocals taking on an almost emo appeal, though not as annoyingly whiny. Once again, the listener can hear the influence of ’60s pop as well as modern day indie pop. The next track, “If It’s Not Love,” has a decidedly late Beatles feel. His vocals during the chorus also have a soulful quality, and are backed by a harmonizing chorus and sparse guitar playing to place emphasis on the vocals.
The sixth track kicks everything up a notch. Not only does Barkan bring in drums, making this track much less mellow than the rest of the EP, but he brings in his buddy Duff to back him up on guitar and vocals. This song is much more fleshed out than the rest. But every song makes you wish he’d put out an LP soon.