With an opening scream that segues seamlessly into a pulse-pounding backline, underpinned by Jay Taylor’s impeccable production style, “Surrendering” emerges as an auditory force, leaving no room for capitulation in the face of the opener of J:Dead’s Roots. Following this assertive entry is “Harbour,” where a poignant blend of sorrow and anxiety unfolds. The dramatic synths and anxious percussion, reminiscent of Taylor’s previous releases, shine with exceptional brilliance, establishing an immersive sonic landscape. In fact, his background as a drummer provides a fantastic edge in terms of sensibility throughout the EP – there’s a rhythmic play that once heard on J:Dead’s releases cannot be unheard, and again proves an immense strength in his style. The delicacy of “What We’ll Be” introduces a dynamic juxtaposition, revealing Taylor’s artistry in crafting moments of vulnerability amid the album’s robust foundation. Aggressive beats seamlessly coexist with hypnotic melodies, creating a powerful interplay. “Feathers,” a contemplative departure from the preceding intensity, presents a softer, nuanced sound. Taylor’s exploration of this gentler facet unveils a layer of creativity that adds profound depth to the overall narrative.
Completing the release for the CD edition is a collection of remixes by prominent artists, each infusing their distinctive styles seamlessly with J:Dead’s. Compatriots like Mesh and Matt Hart contribute compelling synthpop elements in their respective remixes, incorporating familiar hallmarks of their own style to result in a highly gratifying fusion. Additionally, the Faderhead remix of “Surrendering,” featured in the single release, intensifies the EBM impact, adding an extra layer of aggression to the track. Roots is a shining example of Taylor’s ability to construct compositions that ebb and flow with arresting precision. While a concise release, each track is perfectly complete and stands as a concentrated burst of brilliance, providing a well-rounded and cohesive listening experience. Firmly grounded in the intersection between industrial and synthpop, while taking a gleeful hammer to it, Roots emerges as a missing link, masterfully arranged.