People Skills Capture Sound of Emotional Ambiguity on “Blight”

Former January Ending Through 52 Weeks, the title of the newest offering from Jesse Dewlow’s People Skills project, carries the timekeeping association of a journal. The title, it turns out, is perhaps the most determinate aspect of Dewlow’s recent tape, whose inscrutable vocals and ambling tempos are as raw and unsettled as the emotional content that most diaries tend to have. Like Ma Turner’s ZOZ or Secret Boyfriend’s This Is Always Where You’ve Lived, 52 Weeks frames itself as a record of musical sketches. It floats in a private world where environmental textures that sound like home appliances, rattling vents or voices muffled voices the next room waft in and out of the mix. The three-chord progression of “Blight” could form the base of pop song if Dewlow were in any hurry, instead he slows them to a gentle trickle, with his words and syllables barely poking through the oscillations of tremolo. His sense of focus is evident, but it’s not directed at making an intelligible statement, it’s on capturing the sound of emotional ambiguity.

Former January Ending Through 52 Weeks is out now on Saga House.