Bullion Takes Centre Stage on 'Affection'

Exclaim! Staff Picks

BY Kaelen BellPublished Apr 26, 2024

Nathan Jenkins's work as Bullion is unmistakable but easily subsumed — his burbling, '80s-influenced production (more Blue Nile and Young Marble Giants than New Order, to be sure) accents but never overtakes the equally-distinctive songs of artists like Nilüfer Yanya or Westerman.

On his latest solo effort, Jenkins refines the refinement, landing on a hook-heavy, silky brand of playful pop music that's warmed by nostalgia without ever melting into reductive goop. "Rare" is lifted by a feather-light guest spot from Carly Rae Jepsen, whose just-left-of-centre pop bonafides are a perfect fit for Bullion's skewed accessibility. Elsewhere, Charlotte Adigéry accompanies Jenkins on the kinda-early-Talking-Heads, kinda-zydeco thrum of "World_Train."

Unlike so many solo efforts by artists known primarily for their production work, Affection is very much the Bullion show — these guest spots (and there are only three, including the Panda Bear-featuring opener "A City's Never") appear as supporting acts to Jenkins's voice, true duets rather than superstar showcases.

Affection's greatest strength is Jenkins's innate sense of melody — yes, these songs sound dewy and detailed and buoyant and rich — but more importantly, they sound like songs, jammed with hooks and emotion and intimacy. It's easily Bullion's best solo outing, more proof that he's even stronger in front of the boards than behind.

(Ghostly International)

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