Calm. Cool. Collected. Singer-songwriter, pop rock/folk rock’s Jack Pfeffer’s latest release is “All Alone Without U”. Though he’s been releasing music from his home base in Minneapolis, Minnesota, since 2016, Pfeffer is a newcomer to the national music scene. His approach and his artistic stamp on music is new, but his work sure sounds polished.

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“All Alone Without U” starts out with a groovy bass line and bright, warm guitars. The guitar seems to be the star of the show, when Pfeffer’s voice comes to light. He’s modest. The way he rolls out the phrase “she is mine” the listener is hanging on by a thread with ‘miiiiiiiiiiine”. “I know you’re not good for me” he continues to sing. What’s interesting in listening to the lyrics to this song is that you feel like he’s talking about a relationship that is newer. He’s just so engrossed in his girlfriend, almost like an addiction. But, is she not feeling the same? I couldn’t help but wonder if the real story is that she dumped him, and he’s sitting in his room listening to music on the turntable and trying all he can to get his mind off of his girl. The way he sings “you’re not good for me” makes me think that he’s coming up with reasons and saving face. The guitar strums, the orchestration feels so warm and sunny. But, is it a sad song?

It’s certainly up for the listener to come up with their own interpretation and I think that’s why I enjoyed “All Alone Without U” as much as I did. The guitar keeps playing over and over in my head as I write this, and while Pfeffer’s vocals are not as unique as Iggy Pop, Nick Cave or Michael Stipe, he’s memorable. He’s a slow burn and his voice really grows on you much like Mark Foster from Foster The People. Pfeffer’s voice sneaks into the song,  like honey dipping into hot tea. This song doesn’t swallow the listener, or over take the listener. It’s almost like a canopy of song, with the guitar and Pfeffer’s voice parading around you. It feels fresh, light. The words, the music and Pfeffer overlapping back and forth. Fans of pop music might crave just a bit more juice in this squeeze, but I think putting it into pop rock is still the right way to go. I think with time he will jump a bit more out of his comfort zone with vocal range and explore different sounds. For the time being, Pfeffer is right where he needs to be.

Overall, “All Alone Without U” is exceptionally well-done. As aforementioned, it’s a slow build. You have to give this one a few listens, but once you do, it’s easy to embrace. I found myself a bit enamored with Pfeffer’s guitar work, in case you didn’t notice. He’s not Eric Clapton or Johnny Frusciante, but he’s made his mark and he’s made his case. The guitar shines as does the song “All Alone Without U”.

Nicole Killian

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