They Eat the Young
Baby Desert Nobody
Climb Back Down
I Don't Want To Dream About It Anymore
Where Jam City’s 2013 album Club Constructions, Vol. 6 helped define the futuristic sound of the UK’s Night Slugs label, his 2015 follow-up, Dream a Garden, looked backward, swapping club music’s shuddering kicks and chrome-plated textures for an ’80s-inspired palette of flanged guitars and LinnDrum thwacks. Swathed in ambient synths and Jam City’s airy vocals, it sounded like a chopped-and-screwed take on vintage electro-funk, and with Pillowland, he takes that woozily retro aesthetic even further. Equal parts Prince and shoegaze, the album is a strawberry-flavored whirlwind of contrasting textures, pouring sticky-sweet Rhodes keys into brittle synth drums and blistering distortion, and topping it all off with his own quavering falsetto. Along the way, he touches on reference points a world away from his roots in Chicago house and Jersey club. The title track drips slow-motion funk from a reflecting pool of Steely Dan-inspired keys; the hi-def psych of “Cartwheel” could almost be Tame Impala. And while “They Eat the Young” is swaggering glam pop with spangles to spare—imagine Scritti Politti on a sugar bender—“Baby Desert Nobody” dials back to spare guitar and murmured voice. Somewhere in between those two poles lies “I Don’t Want to Dream About It Anymore,” perhaps the crux of the whole project—a pastel-streaked take on indie pop that wraps sotto-voce sincerity in gloriously over-the-top trappings.