On his new album, Javelin, Jordan Klassen proves that, while you can never fully escape your past, you can use your present to rewrite it. Starting with his firm foundations in folk music traditions, the 10 songs on Javelin are built like life-sized museum displays, dioramas recontextualizing memories, missteps, and musings that, as opener “Glory B” chirps, holds “memory up to the light”.
Javelin is a vivacious album of odd sounds and textures, more onomatopoeia than instrumentation: humming, buzzing, whirls, swirls, and trills colour candid compositions like “No Salesman”, whose lyrics may be cryptic (“I love you more, like kick drums on your bedroom door” for example) but are bursting with conviction.
Klassen’s intricate and delicate arrangements remind me of Andrew Bird, another eclectic songwriter unafraid of breaking with tradition, sculpting songs out of found filaments and fragments. It’s at once familiar and refreshingly different; you can’t help but feel the plain beauty of “We Got Married” is triggering some deep-rooted, forgotten moment in your mind. Javelin is full of moments like this. The soaring chorus of “Baby Moses” a perfect example: it lodges in your memory long after you’ve stopped listening, a lingering reminder of the fine record it springs from, and a subtle prompt to return to Javelin’s splendour sooner rather than later.
Jordan Klassen, Javelin
Nevado Records, February 19, 2016