Property Is Theft
Milwaukee singer-songwriter Jay Flash isn’t afraid to wear his influences on his sleeve. Panda Bear fans, for one, are going to be very comfortable with the psych-pop territory being explored on Flash’s latest EP, Property Is Theft. Opening track “Fantasy” features fellow Milwaukee folkie Old Earth (who self-released the excellent Uncollected Voices, On The Orchard Moan earlier this year) creepily chanting “I hear the instruments / I’m not alone.” A short bass loop emerges with jangling percussion, and echo-laden elements are continually infused until “Fantasy” becomes a swirling but orderly mess of electronic beeps, distant drums, hums, and chants.
“Patterns,” the EP’s second track, is the only remaining vestige of the more organic recordings from Flash’s earlier releases. Over a softly picked, repetitive chord progression, Flash invokes his folk heroes by putting more emphasis on storytelling and vocal harmonies, with only minor sonic dabbling. On an EP that spans almost an hour, “Patterns” is a brief acknowledgement, if not a farewell, to a passing identity in a search for bigger, better things.
Property Is Theft is essentially divided into two halves: one introspective, and the other explicitly political. (Flash includes interview clips from intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and James Baldwin on several songs.) Both sides are heavily steeped in psychedelia, and the results are intriguing though sometimes disjointed. Property Is Theft finds Flash working toward clarifying his fascination with social, political, and internal turbulence; the vision isn’t focused yet, but it’s getting there.
You can download Property Is Theft for free here.