The Jigsaw Seen’s new album Gifted is a sequel to its previous album, Winterland, which contained themes centered around the spectacles of winter. The sound of this album successfully invokes the feeling of winter, with contained melodies that swirl amidst a flurry of cheery guitars and “Charlie Brown Christmas”-esque chords.
The album starts off strong with the offbeat, minor-key “Myth of the Season,” which begins with block chord piano repetition and ends with echoing bells and horns, an entirely different spin on the classic instruments found in typical winter songs.
The strong instrumentation continues, but all other facets of the album fall flat. The lyrics are weak, supported by static singing that yields little difference from song to song. I did appreciate the cover of David Bowie’s “Sell Me a Coat,” but even that song lacks the strong background vocals that makes the original so good. Bowie had at least two other harmonies floating around, while Jigsaw Seen simply rides the straight melody. I love winter as much as the next guy, but holiday-themed albums never quite hit the spot. Not to sound like a Grinch, but there’s just too much stale cheer here.
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