Single Review: J.S. Terry – “The Unmistakable Sound of a Heart Beating in Love”
J.S. Terry – “The Unmistakable Sound of a Heart Beating in Love” (Self-Released)
Folk can be predictable, cliché, and safe. Even for a fan of the genre like myself, it can be enjoyable, but not substantive. But when folk is done right? It can be breathtaking.
Indie folk artist, local Twitter celebrity, and king of long song and album names, J.S. Terry hits all the right notes in his single “The Unmistakable Sound of a Heart Beating in Love,” from his sophomore album, And You Loom Over Me Like a Mountain.
Jonah Terry’s self-branded “feral folk” has been fine-tuned over the years as his project developed from a solo bedroom act into a culmination of the talented members of The Pablo Generation, a music collective based in Clemson, South Carolina.
For full disclosure, I admit I’m friends with Terry and know a few members of his backing band. I also admit that I was worried it would be hard to write an unbiased review because of this. But then I listened to the single, and Terry’s talent speaks for itself.
“The Unmistakable Sound of a Heart Beating in Love” is J.S. Terry at his best. It’s immediately captivating – it’s polished, but unique and enjoyably messy at the same time. Its melody is unpredictable, as it experiments with its own sound every second. Because of this, it’s never boring and invites countless repeat listens. Each member of Terry’s backing band also performs the hell out of the song – I especially enjoyed Dan Fetterolf on violin – and their backing provides listeners a sense of urgency on top of the story being told. Terry’s vocals are warm and clean, and the voices of the “mischievous beings” frolicking in the background were a nice creative touch. The entire arrangement gave me Where the Wild Things Are vibes in the best way possible (remember that movie? It was weird).
The single also affirms what the freshman album Rose already proved to his fans: Terry’s greatest strength is in his lyrical ability. His power to string together a wistful story about loss and one’s inability to move on from the memory of a loved one is what grounds his otherworldly music. As the song unpacks these complicated emotions, there’s never a feeling that it’s contrived. Just like him, J.S. Terry’s music is entirely genuine.
“The Unmistakable Sound of a Heart Beating in Love” is the kind of music you want to run in a field to. It’s music you want to go on a road trip to, and music you want to fall in love to. And as I hit replay for the hundredth time, I realize it’s the music I want to finish this review to. My expectations for this single were high, as they are for every project coming out of The Pablo Generation. J.S. Terry didn’t just exceed them, though: he created something entirely new, and proved he knows exactly how to make folk go right.
Stream J.S. Terry’s single “The Unmistakable Sound of a Heart Beating in Love” off the album And You Loom Over Me Like a Mountain now on all major streaming platforms.