by Karina Espinosa
Jay Som – Anak Ko
[Polyvinyl Record Co.]
Melina Duterte, AKA Jay Som, has always been an enthusiastic proponent of recording music at home. On her third full-length release she continues on this same path, only this time she’s invited a couple of friends to join in on her once secluded process. Thanks to these collaborative experiences, she’s created her most inclusive and refined version of bedroom pop to date.
Compared to 2017’s Everybody Works, the compositions on Anak Ko contain even richer layers and more sophisticated details. But there’s a refreshing modesty behind each track, and Duterte hasn’t lost sight of her DIY roots.
The best example of this is “Nighttime Drive,” a song that stands out because of its sincerity and simplicity. It’s a charming indie rock ballad featuring an orchestral arrangement, but it’s Duterte’s unhurried voice that makes it memorable. Elsewhere, Duterte flirts with different music styles: whether it’s wistful 90s-inspired pop on “Superbike” or smooth, rhythmic grooves on “Tenderness,” she pulls her diverse influences together into a cohesive and enjoyable album.
Duterte proves it’s possible for an artist to mature without losing their sense of self. On Anak Ko she’s taken what she’s learned to create a work that’s new and exciting, but still undoubtedly Jay Som.
Best Track: Nighttime Drive