A soulful slice of Americana emerges on Dan Friese’s passionate performance of “Jane Songs”. With just the right hint of mysticism there is a meditative quality to these pieces. His guitar playing feels physical for he truly lets the thing sing. By allowing fire into the fray the whole of the album has a journey-like quality. Clever detail emerges over the course of the trip for he embraces a raw, gritty quality. Folk, country, indie rock, lo-fi, the blues, these all effortlessly blend into a stream of consciousness that is uniquely his own.
The surrealism of the lyricism along with its inherent playfulness recalls the Meat Puppets at the height of their powers. Akin to their work, there is a hint of the psychedelic that underpins much of the sound. Never overwhelming it, it rests right on the periphery ensuring that the album has the right dreamy disposition. Intimacy further works wonders for the living, breathing quality of the album recalls the Fleet Foxes at their most impassioned. Done with so much vigor there is a commanding presence, a fully-fledged fully-realized approach that seems to consume the listener whole.
“Start Breathing In” begins the album off in earnest, with a rushing of colors coming into the fray. A rollicking good spirit ties it all together with a rhythm that careens wildly. Things get ever more low-key on the reflective tact of “I Can’t Say” with nimble guitar work feeling outright sly. Forgoing a large arrangement, the tenderness of “I Thought I Knew” has a gorgeousness to it courtesy of the impressive fiddle that adorns it, nicely matching the energy of his voice. The late-night flavor of “Streetlight” possesses its own poetry, with Dan Friese drawing from Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” phase. Easily the highlight of the album the whole of the sound is perfectly balanced, from the gentle piano to the mellowed-out drums. An incredible buildup occurs on the kinetic pace of “Inner Child”.
Bright and airy “Open” shows off Dan Friese’s imaginative chops, with guitars that seemingly waft up into the sky. Powerful piano propels the intense emotion of “The Beginning”. Quite spacious the ambitious “The Call” strips things down to the essentials while he sings straight from the heart. Pastoral bliss emerges on the delicate arrangements of “Stop Bringing Everybody Down”. Careful delivery brings the whole of the album to a close on the timeless tasteful “This Life”.
“Jane Songs” proves Dan Friese to be a true storyteller with clever narratives that linger in the mind long after the songs have ended.