A ghostly harmony follows every word Jimmy Goings sings to us in the familiar “He’s in Your Mind,” but as strong an impression as this song makes, it doesn’t dwarf the ensuing emotion we’ll soon embrace in the tone-driven “Is It Just Me,” the tune that immediately follows it in Goings’ new record Late Check-In. The strings dance with the verses in “Soldier of Fortune,” duel with a soft vocal in “Ride Away” and circle the audience with a churning resilience in “Live Line.”
The backdrop strikes with a volatile thrust in “Records from Mars” far different than the mild pull we’ll hear in “We Were One,” but as is the case with the string melodies of “The Last Tear,” the Young-esque “World at War” and cinematic album-closer “You Make Us Want to Cry,” rhythm is but one minor component in the moody soundscape presented to us in this LP. Whether it be “Now is the Time,” the scene-setting trio of “American Dreams,” “Crazy Like Me” and “Don’t Believe in Anything,” or any of the other climactic moments offered in this outing from Goings, catharsis, introspection and relentless passion are made available to us in abundant supply.
There’s a progressive flow to the tracklist in Late Check-In that is impossible for even the most novice of music enthusiasts to ignore, and while I can’t speak to whether or not this was intended by its creator, it undisputedly adds to the provocative vibe of the music and makes every song seem a little more important and weighty in tone. The melodies between tracks like “Don’t Believe in Anything,” “World at War” and “Records from Mars,” as unique as they are, are strung together fluidly, as if to hint at an underlying narrative Goings is trying, desperately, to get across to us via any means possible.
His attention to detail in the mix is commendable, but there’s nothing overthought about the music he’s recorded here; on the contrary, he’s rejecting the very notion of exploiting the stereophonic slate beyond employing it for its proper use – as a blank canvas atop which to paint us a one of a kind portrait.
Whether you’re a longtime fan of Jimmy Goings or are a relative newcomer to his sound, Late Check-In is a must-listen this July if you’re a fan of contemporary indie artists. As the singer and arranger, this up-and-comer has already exhibited a lot of skill with his voice, and through his burgeoning solo career, he shows us a different side to his songwriting skillset that is undeniably as fetching as it gets in modern alternative music. He’s still coming into his own, but from where I sit, Late Check-In is a watershed moment for his discography; inside of its fourteen songs, it introduces us to an unrestrained Jimmy Goings who isn’t shy about putting everything out on the table both lyrically and instrumentally, and while it’s only his latest solo release, it’s decidedly the best music he’s recorded professionally from where I’m standing at the moment.