Published Jul 10, 2020Cool Waters is a testament to what can be accomplished by an imaginative musician with a digital audio workstation, talent, patience and elbow grease. Cool Waters, the brainchild of Canadian artist Jacob McIsaac, proves on his eponymous debut EP that you don't need fancy equipment or a professional studio to create a fully realized sound in your living room.
The Cool Waters EP comes in at a concise 16 minutes over four tracks. Despite the record's brevity, it isn't difficult to discern what McIsaac is trying to convey with his music. The album's ubiquitously busy bass and upbeat guitar is cause for merriment, regardless of any individual song's lyrical subject matter. The tone is celebratory, awash in the psych-pop stylings of fellow multi-instrumentalist producers like Alex G and Tame Impala's Kevin Parker. The latter's influence is unmistakably felt in the syncopated rhythms of "Touchdown," as well as the cavernous synths on "Cardinal." "Flights" hears Cool Waters grooving and breaking out a falsetto chorus about independent thinking. There's a hopeful tenor in each track; amidst themes of insecurity, self-doubt and deteriorating relationships, Cool Waters grooves in the chilly waves of young adulthood, staying afloat in a sea of troubles by making music.
McIsaac has done an enviable job on his first release. The record is well-layered, well-engineered and well-thought out. While the lyrical output isn't necessarily groundbreaking, Cool Waters shows great promise by establishing a clear vision and executing it. (Independent)