Lounge Act Jam is a Portland, Oregon based, multi-genre alternative and experimental project overseen by head honcho Alan Yang, who is originally from Taipei, Taiwan. Alan writes, sings, and plays all instruments, as well as mixes and masters the material, this project puts outs. Lounge Act Jam’s latest release is the 10 track album “Diabolical” – which is predominantly a stripped down, lo-fi, singer-songwriter endeavor, featuring raw vocals and acoustic guitar. In between, you’ll find the post rock influences of the opening track “Pluto Waits For Nothing”, as well as the reverbed, shoegaze flavors of “Shine (Interlude)” and “Live Through Spring”. As can be expected of an album of this nature, there are two things that really shine on this recording: Alan Yang’s vocals and the acoustic guitar work. Alan’s vocals are amazingly pure and the boy can hit some high notes too. He delivers the song story-lines very convincingly and the lyrics are superb as well.
The songs on “Diabolical” have a great deal of energy, atmosphere and strong melodies. Thrown out of the window, are all the glossy production embellishments we find on modern mainstream records. The emphasis here is on the songs and performances themselves. All unfiltered and unadorned.
Guitar slaps and strums, bedroom auras, and live take distortions are all included, for an authentically visceral listening experience. Apart from the odd reverbs and layered vocals in some songs, this is music in its naked, rawest, and realest form.
As soon as you hit on songs like “Idea of Me”, “Afterparty” and “Violent Love”, you realize how this album folds the polished dynamics of contemporary alt pop and rock into a collection of heartfelt songs that ache and soar like vintage singer-songwriter music.
Acoustic guitar blasts mingle with vivid storytelling and titular phrases, punctuated by comforting vocals. Despite the rough and raw, stripped down, and unpretentious aspect of these tracks, there’s something so refreshing and soothing about a Lounge Act Jam song.
Turning on one of any songs on this albums feels partly nostalgia. There really is something special about the lack of artifice, the wholehearted commitment to a feeling that Lounge Act Jam gives the songs. Alan Yang keeps his lyrics simple and honest for the most part, never hiding behind a smokescreen of cool, but he knows just the right details and turns of phrase to use to bring a moment to life, to make the specific feel universal.
Regardless of tempo and feel, you will find all of these qualities in the back to back tracks: “Memories (In my head)”, “Dwell (Rest Your Soul) [Live In Sanctuary]” and especially “Hanging In The Air (In Your Dreams You Could Breathe Again)”.
As mentioned previously, “Live Through Spring” falls into the category of those couple of songs which lean towards dream pop and shoegaze influences – smooth highly reverbed backdrops fronted by hazy, washed out vocal harmonies that mesmerize your senses.
The fact that Alan Yang aka Lounge Act Jam has a special skillset to sing from a jam-session-like, personal perspective, enabling the listener to sing along as if they wrote the song for themselves, is evident on “Destiny, Paradise!” The unifying nature of Lounge Act Jam clearly stems from Alan’s ability to lay bare his most intimate thoughts and feelings, and have them resonate with listeners.
Alan Yang doesn’t just sing. He emotes. He rasps, he strains, and he flips into falsetto on the given occasion. Ultimately, Yang lets the rawness and emotion in his voice show. It’s amazingly endearing with a pure, raw sound that he does not allow to interfere with the fundamental aspects of his music.
Yang is a master of communicating his feelings across his tracks, and the vast majority of the time he has the strong songwriting to back it up. The rawness of “Diabolical” by Lounge Act Jam, speaks volumes that most modern music, indie and alternative rock included, only wish it could.