There is a simmering tenderness that radiates from Joel Jerome‘s newest album Super Flower Blood Moon, his first since 2017’s Cosmic Bear Jamboree. The very first recordings of which blossomed out of songs he recorded on his phone using a four-track app over a period of two-weeks. “They just wanted to hear the bare soul of the song, which I totally understand,” Jerome said of the process. “It really helped fertilize the creative space for me.”
That space results in a collection of lilting, spacey ditties that draw on Jerome’s eclectic sonic palette. Jaunty, guitar-led melodies that echo the Beach Boys and Guided by Voices abound, as do contemporary nods to the sonorous soundscapes and angelic vocalization of Angel Olsen and Fleet Foxes. But landmarks aside, Jerome’s music is a journey easy to get swept away in.
Album opener “When You Land” is a suitably dreamy introduction to Jerome’s dually gorgeous and haunting orchestrations. Across eleven songs the singer/songwriter conjures up a number of soothingly melodic love songs, including the twinkling “Falling Star” and the folksy “Nobody Like You.” Between his dulcet intonations and gentle strumming there are few moments Jerome doesn’t strike a poignantly romantic or life-affirming chord.
Even when he’s in the depths of heartbreak, as on the morose “Don’t Forget About Me,” ebullient piano keys and buoyant drums never let it slip all the way into despair. “Give It Up,” a dusty acoustic ballad, wrangles with the thought of looking back on life once you’re at its end; a question put more pointedley on the fuzzy swayer “We Made It Home.” But it’s album closer “Everybody Come On,” a subdued rallying cry of self-love disguised by a dreary list of punches Jerome plans to just roll with.
“If all my fans are lazy / I’ll still play the show for you maybe,” he drawls over a mournful strings. “I don’t exactly know where I belong / But I keep moving on.” He even wades into his placement as a “local legend” of the indie scene — that is, “until they need someone to credit” he wearily opines. Jerome might be carrying a healthy amount self-deprecation when sings, “that’s ok cuz they all sing my songs / And before too long / I’ll be famous,” but even if it doesn’t happen Super Flower Blood Moon is beauty enough to take pride in.
Listen to Joel Jerome’s new album Super Flower Blood Moon below: