With his aptly titled solo project Jaguar Purrs, Jordan Parker has just rung in the new year by releasing Atlanta’s sexiest music of 2017 so far. Whirling synths grace the gorgeous vocal melodies and guitar lines on this three-track EP in beautifully orchestrated fashion. The songs bring to mind images of a car ride through Midtown with the windows down and the neon fluorescence of club signs lighting up faces on the sidewalk. Parker’s echoed vocals pleasantly remind me of Alan Palomo of Neon Indian on Psychic Chasms, but much more forward in production. His falsetto contrasts well with his darker, deeper inflections.
Electropop holds the great ability to create distinct atmospheres with exploratory synth tones and Parker uses this power to his advantage. Opening with a track as mood-inducing as “Future Visions”, it is difficult not to get sucked into the oscillating synths of the chorus. This flows eloquently into the arpeggiated pickup of “You Are My Favorite Interruption,” a much faster track and one of the most infectious modern dance tunes I have heard since Tame Impala released Currents back in 2015. Everything about this track is beautiful, save perhaps the drum machine, which at times overpowers the other instruments. Still, the smooth synth bass, the way the major thirds on the guitar are introduced a minute and a twelve seconds in, and the major seventh voicings are all so expertly put together on this outstanding song. One cannot help but feel pulled into a rhythmic sway or head bob as Parker unfurls his talent for late-night romanticism. The EP finishes with “My Folks,” a cut almost definitely about the songwriter’s parents, their misunderstanding of him, and growing up. It sounds like a slowed-down surf rock or power punk tune with a great chord progression and a captivating hook.
Jaguar Purrs glides along effortlessly with each song hanging around three and a half minutes. Each musical idea feels rich and developed. No loose ends. Every song is distinct in its message and makes for a great sampling of Parker’s appeal as a solo act. For newcomers unfamiliar with his work in Vera Vera or Mara, this EP is an elegant and alluring introduction to his illustrious capabilities as a songwriter. Although it comes and goes quickly, it is enough to leave me eager for what his forthcoming LP has to offer.