The latest offering of New York City-based Jordan Okrend is a six-track EP titled World Keeps Turnin’, a collection of comforting and uplifting songs that seem to be a form of therapy, be it for the singer-songwriter or for the listener. While the overall genre is deemed to be pop, there are soul, blues, jazz, folk, and rock elements peppered throughout. Okrend also puts efforts into developing lyrics that go beyond typical pop fare, even going into the socially conscious sphere of things.
The comparison to John Mayer and Ed Sheeran comes to mind as soon as the first notes of the EP’s title track play. “World Keeps Turnin” starts with an almost minute long acoustic introduction featuring a guitar and Okrend’s vocals; the comparison is reinforced when the piano, drums, extra guitars, and backing vocals kick in. The upbeat pop number has a certain bluesy feel to it reinforced by the guitar solo at the two third mark. The blues factor also clearly makes its mark in the more restrained, down-tempo “Never Alone With You”.
That is not to say that Okrend is all wide-open fields, balloons, and puppies; a certain raw, in-your-face attitude (blunted by the sweetness of the main vocals) comes through in “Too Much To Love”. There are hints of musical sophistication embedded in the tracks. In the mid-tempo, folksy “Keep Coming To You” there is some great guitar work—one can imagine fingers flying over the chords of a guitar in the quick succession of notes that becomes one of its defining touches. There is a certain patient acceptance of the fact that no wonder what he does, Okrend always finds himself coming back to the object of this song.
There is a warmth to all the songs, even those that broach more serious topics. “Go My Way” could have been such a dark and depressing track, as it touches on how tough things usually are in the challenging world of today. And yet, although admitting to all the difficulties that surrounding us, the ultimate message in this groovy, potentially anthemic number is that something is bound to go our way.
Okrend might not be bringing anything particularly cutting edge to the music buffet, but what he does bring is well executed. He also makes available to those looking for hope in dark times a bright ray of light of which one can really never have enough. The talent is clear in the acoustic version of “World Keeps Turnin’,” which has the potential to become a fan favorite. Tracks are available for streaming on SoundCloud. More information about Jordan Okrend is available on both his Facebook page and his official website.
Pictures provided by Working Brilliantly.
First published on Blogcritics.