Seeing off or letting go of something, or someone, you love, is a difficult undertaking for the heart to bear, especially the release of a first album. It’s like watching your firstborn leave home and go out into the world. Such can be said for Jackson VanHorn’s solo debut, Blood, which will finally see daylight tomorrow on all digital platforms. Having released a few singles along the way since the project’s inception, the writing, recording and seemingly endless tweaking of a full-length’s worth of songs will feel like an eternity of the artist getting a weight off their chest, off their mind.
The record starts on a familiar note, with the single, “Desire,” [re]introducing you to the impossible longing of every song to come after, as though it’s a mission statement for the dejected. VanHorn’s vocals and guitar adopt a more frenzied desperation on second track opus “Sirena.” It’s an album rife with wishes for things that could have happened differently, for “other” circumstances. Feelings of loss, of missing, of unbearable emptiness and agonizing anticipation, infect every beautifully choral guitar riff, every frantic rhythmic pattern, every pained lamentation. And, of course, with such a time spent perfecting it, it’s as close to a perfect post-punk album as it gets. You heart it in everything, how much care was put into every song, as harrowing to release as it must have been to record. The sprinting anxiety of it all falls to its knees and crawls and exposes full, tremendous melancholy on the second-to-last Title Track, giving opportunity to catch your breath and check in with emotional intelligence before the rebirth on closing track, “Burn.” Electronics and ambient tones are introduced to breath new life, and what feels like hope, into you. What is experienced is behind, and this album is all about that, except this ending looking forward.