Jay Som Anak Ko Lucky Number
With her acclaimed 2017 breakout, Everybody Works, Jay Som’s Melina Duterte became an updated symbol of bedroom indie rock. On her anticipated follow-up Anak Ko – which is the Tagalog phrase for “my child” – Duterte sounds fully realised.
Still recording out of her bedroom studio, the warm sound that won her fans remains intact (listen closely and you can even hear the soft chug of her washing machine running in the background). But this time around, Jay Som has traded in most of its lo-fi pop allure in favour of precision and controlled intensity. Duterte’s childhood studies of jazz trumpet are showcased in several tracks, from the sensual, syncopated rhythms of Devotion to the seemingly improvised solo entrances on If You Want It. She easily shifts between genres, too, playing to her dream pop strengths on the Cocteau Twins-inspired single Superbike.
The album’s title track defies genre altogether, as Duterte softly sings over a drum machine and a hushed bass, before the song transforms into a crunching, chaotic conglomeration fit for the climax of a sci-fi action film. Duterte’s willingness to loosen her grip and experiment with versatility shows just how much control she has gained since her spontaneous debut, Turn Into. It feels like Anak Ko requires real confidence, which, like the hum of a washing machine, subtly establishes its presence from the beginning.