Jay Som Anak Ko

Jay Som Anak Ko
8
Polymath singer, songwriter and producer Melina Duterte has returned with her second album as Jay Som, relinquishing control over her sound by inviting her live bandmates and collaborators in, yet retaining the intimacy of her much-lauded debut, Everybody Works.
 
Anak Ko delves into new territory: pop grooves inspired by the excellent '80s releases of Prefab Sprout, as well as country/folk leanings. Duterte places an emphasis on acting with kindness and empathy, heard in direct chorus lines: "Tenderness is all I've got" and songs that offer care, such as the album's languid closer, "Get Well."
 
Duterte showcases her ability to create songs with the illusion of space within a 35-minute record, drawing listeners in yet without overstaying her welcome. Anak Ko's songs shift from crisp pop to elongated strings and pedal steel, embracing beauty.
 
Duterte explores darker intentions too: album opener "If You Want It" is arresting and direct in its lyrics eviscerating a manipulative individual. Yet much of what Duterte has accomplished on Anak Ko reflects the balancing act depicted in its album artwork: songs that weave together contributions from a range of players, carried by Duterte's singular vision. (Polyvinyl)