In The Standoff, Jesse A James unveils an album of remarkable diversity in styles. "Mad Science," the opening track, carries echoes of Pavement, albeit with a touch of a cartoonish affectation in the vocals, which, rather surprisingly, adds an intriguing layer to the music.
Following this, "Like A Trombone" delivers a solid groove, though it might have found its optimal placement later in the album. The album's standout moments often lie in its sincerity. "Friend Ship," drawing inspiration from the gloomy realms of post-rock, strikes a balance reminiscent of a fusion between Death Cab for Cutie and Mogwai. This particular style resonates well, leaving a yearning for more of such artistic exploration from James in future releases.
From the heavier tones of "The Standoff" and "Novelty" to the more contemplative and lighter melodies of "A Way Out" and "I Grow," the album traverses through varying emotional landscapes.
While the collection of songs holds quality overall, personal inclinations become evident. James' versatility shines through, prompting contemplation of potentially dividing these distinct styles into separate projects. Within this versatile display, there's ample room for listeners to embrace different facets of James' musical prowess. Ultimately, subjective taste will determine which side of James an audience might lean towards, but the breadth of his artistry offers much to explore and appreciate.