“Anyone who is using more than two chords is just showing off.”
Woodie Guthrie’s famous quote became a mantra for young musicians who rallied around folk’s austerity, and later inspired a new generation of artists who basked in punk’s primitivism. Guthrie’s songs may not be an influence on Louisville’s Jaye Jayle, but his call for simplicity as a deliberate choice versus a matter of mere ability resonated with the veterans of Kentucky’s dark indie scene. Naming themselves Jaye Jayle as a pen name or a pseudonym to veer away from a traditional band moniker, the group sought to eliminate unnecessary variables and deconstruct their compositions down to their most concentrated essence. Jaye Jayle owe less to our nation’s roots music and more to peripheral rock bands that have taken the “less is more” attitude to its furthest reaches. Imagine Spacemen 3 without the saturated wall of distortion, or Neu! without the upbeat motorik pulse, or Lungfish without the shamanistic howls. But these reference points seem either too bombastic or too lush. Perhaps a nexus of The Troggs’ ham-fisted drumming, Angels of Light’s ominous twang, and Suicide’s swaths of negative space hits closer to the mark, but even that doesn’t do the band justice. Jaye Jayle’s debut album House Cricks and Other Excuses To Get Out is an exercise in tension and restraint, a tightrope act between singer-songwriter traditions and art rock experimentation, and an intersection of Southern cultural permutations and otherworldly sounds.