Considering Jay Taylor’s background as a drummer for bands such as Tactical Sekt and Tyske Ludder, one could be forgiven for assuming his J:Dead project trades in the style of harsh electro and EBM that those groups respectively employ. Rather than forging a similar path, J:Dead strikes a more melodic tone with clear, unprocessed vocals and smoother melodies. The debut record, A Complicated Genocide was composed by and large of dark synthpop with a particular focus on emotive vocals and strong songwriting; this second release, Vision of Time mines a similar vein, albeit with a touch more emphasis on faster tempos and dancefloor ready rhythms across its six tracks.
Regardless of the arrangement, Taylor’s vocals remain strong and affecting, and his uncanny knack for a hook remains intact. Lead single “I’ll Wait” is a fine example – underpinned by a beckoning beat, Taylor’s voice effortlessly glides among catchy leads and chiming synth tones that herald the arrival of an energetic, club-ready chorus that wastes no time etching itself into the listener’s memory. The EP’s second single “Hold Tight” finds Taylor deftly constructing an arresting tune with a skittering synth lead and a rather simple refrain on the chorus while maintaining his purposeful, passionate lyrics and vocals. “Whole,” on the other hand, is slightly murkier with Taylor’s darkly sensual lyrics slithering below thunderous drums before a bright, punchy chorus crashes into the production; it’s a stark contrast to be sure, but it works in the track’s favor and creates another easy standout.
More than a few EPs can be accused of being mere stopgaps between albums, collections of passable B-sides with a few disposable remixes tacked on for good measure that only command the attention of dedicated devotees. Vision of Time defies such a categorization by assembling some of J:Dead’s best tracks to date that showcase Taylor’s growth as a singer and songwriter, fueling and intensifying the anticipation of his forthcoming album.