The release of its first single and title track a short while back ensured that the debut EP from Italian dark pop artist JATA would be a keen port of call at some point for a great many. The song was a captivatingly fruitful pull on ears and appetite meaning we too wanted to explore further. What it did not convey though was the rich diversity of flavouring to be found with the Crazy Game of Phobias EP though it was a potent clue to its creative magnetism.
JATA is the solo project of actor, songwriter, musician Gaetano Russo and embraces an eighties synth pop/electronic breath to its character. Inspirations to JATA include the likes of Planet Funk, Almamegretta, Blonde Redhead, Arcade Fire, Editors, Interpol and Block Party as well as Depeche Mode which is an open influence in its enterprise. We also sense a Gary Numan hue to its invention, one which is subtle as in the title track though at times a bolder tempting we easily took to.
The song, Crazy Game of Phobias opens up the release, keys instantly weaving a landscape of temptation and suggestion as Russo’s alluring tones begin a reflection on reaction and resistance to social contact in a time of isolation, a theme openly sparked by the current pandemic with its lockdown and governing rules. Almost kaleidoscopically the track grows and evolves, every moment a source of new flavouring and enterprise, as we suggested a Numan-esque essence fusing with its Depeche Mode styled breath. Constantly pulsating as new layers add to its eclectic tapestry of sound and enveloping ears and imagination with escalating prowess, the song proved virulently fertile and increasingly addictive.
Miss You follows; the ballad an emotive reflection of voice and piano which soon broadens its touch with electronic elegance. Draped in shadows and thoughtful anxiety it bears a heart of melancholy yet equally has a warmth and hint of hope which equally beguiled before The Rest of My Days weaved its calm but manipulatively infectious electronic tapestry of techno pop and ambience wrapped dark wave.
It is fair to say that already the imagination stoking variety at the heart of the release had us enthralled, The Same Page adding to the keen exploration with its caliginous radiance and deceitfully contagious sway. Again the atmospheric guile of Russo’s composing is as magnetic and suggestive as his electronic endeavour, the heart bred croon soon under the skin before Letter From My Future revels in the more classical singer songwriter enterprise of its creator though it too as seconds and invention passes becomes rich in electronic and pop hued multi-varied tempting.
Concluded by the irresistible Don’t Blame on Yourself, a final emotive release of the heart with an inherent catchiness that simmers and bubbles across its Thomas Dolby like stroll, Crazy Game of Phobias more than lived up to the promise of that ear grabbing first single. It is a release which has only blossomed further by the listen and given the chance will surely be a magnet for electronic pop keen appetites.
Crazy Game of Phobias is out now via Seahorse Recordings across most digital platforms.
Pete RingMaster 04/11/2021
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