Many people argue that mainstream music often sounds the same, so when something different (and good) comes out, it’s a pretty big deal. “Fears“, a five-track EP from new artist Josef Pollock, is a perfect example of what new music should be.
This isn’t the type of music you’d listen to if you’re looking to get pumped up for a fight or the big game, but that’s not the point. Josef’s songs are soothing, smooth, and gratifying, and listening to “Fears” is the perfect way to calm down after a hard day. It is an album that fills a certain need, best listened to and admired when feeling mellow, and will easily put you in a state of dreamlike tranquility.
The EP is a mixture of both slow and upbeat tunes, and is a perfect balance of Josef’s finest qualities. There’s something about Josef Pollock I love, whether it’s his voice, the melodies, or the gentle acoustic guitar. His sound is similar to that of another southern Ontario band, Great Lake Swimmers, as well as other fantastic artists Bon Iver and Matt Costa, all well-known for exceptional songwriting and understated but immense talent. Josef’s singing is beautiful – he has a gorgeous voice that lends itself perfectly to each of his songs, and regardless of the tempo or key, he nails it perfectly. This is what makes the album so easy to listen to, and so seemingly effortless that it’s almost surprising to remember that Josef Pollock is new on the music scene.
Josef Pollock is the brainchild and pseudonym of Isaac Vallentin, an Ontario musician who is already making big waves. He has already played alongside several great acts, including Shotgun Jimmie, Daniel Romano (of Attack in Black), and One Hundred Dollars, as well as Baby Eagle (Steve Lambke of Constantines). His resume is impressive, but given his talent and love of music, it is not at all surprising.
The most catchy song on the album is the second track, “What You Own”, which is one of the faster-paced and more singable of his songs. The singing contributions of Beverly Fairmont harmonize perfectly with Josef’s own soft voice, making even a lyricless chorus memorable and catchy. I could (and do) listen to this song on repeat for hours, and my usual lack of attention span moves aside to let me love it.
Each of the other four tracks are equally enjoyable. He shows depth and talent in both music and lyrics, and with a few more songs and a bit more diversity to fill a full-length album, Josef Pollock will take the music world by storm. In the meantime, “Fears” deserves to be loved. Buy or download his album here (free, if you want it to be!), and definitely show your appreciation for his music by attending the official CD release show on July 21 at The Mansion House in St. Catharines.
Josef Pollock is going places. He is continually playing shows across the Niagara Region and southern Ontario, “wholeheartedly loving every second of it”, and by discovering his music, you will love him, too.