Nat Jay goes bright on All I Think When I Wake Up

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      Nat Jay
      All I Think When I Wake Up (Independent)

      As we Vancouverites brace ourselves for a winter inevitably filled with chilly drizzle, we can find a lot to relate to in Nat Jay’s song “This City (Some of You)”. During the track’s whispered intro, the songwriter reminds us that life in Lotusland isn’t so bad, singing, “I never mind when the sun doesn’t shine, because I belong here in Vancouver/It rains all the time, but the trees are all mine, and it doesn’t get cold till November.”

      While this dramatic, country-tinged ballad is likely to resonate with local listeners, the best moments on All I Think When I Wake Up come when Jay embraces brighter sounds. She puts her strong foot forward with the slinky opening cut “Can’t Getcha Out”, which worms its mantralike chorus into listeners’ brains while riding a groove that splits the difference between chugging rock and pulsing pop.

      “Cover Your Tracks” and “Love Me Too” are equally hook-filled, with the members of local rock vets Odds holding down the bouncy mid-tempo rhythms. At times, Jay’s vocals bear a strong resemblance to fellow local singer Hannah Georgas, and this similarity is accentuated by their like-minded taste in studio collaborators (producer Winston Hauschild and mixer Shawn Cole have previously worked with Georgas).

      The album is front-loaded with catchy numbers, but the second half falters due to its less effective ballads. “I Will Keep You Warm” prominently features a syrupy flute, and saccharine closer “Get to Know You” contains cloyingly romantic lyrics about ice-cream shops, park benches, and milkshakes.

      Still, All I Think When I Wake Up has enough snappy tracks that it’ll keep listeners warm in the months ahead.