Updated: Oct 17, 2020
Singer songwriter Jack R. Reilly has dropped his highly anticipated debut album Middle Everything. In this multi-faceted album, Reilly uses music as a tool to contemplate and share his emotions across 10 unique tracks. From stripped back acoustics to heavy rock, Middle Everything truly does give us a bit of everything. Listing the iconic Elliott Smith as a significant influence, Reilly’s creations are raw and heartfelt.
Jack R. Reilly explains, “Middle Everything is me acknowledging the feelings and thoughts that come up while practicing meditation. During the writing process I was living alone in Kings Cross and spending a huge amount of time either meditating, or going for really long walks in to and around the city. I’d spend almost every Saturday and Sunday walking around with a notebook, finding little places to write. At night I’d come home and try to work shop those into songs.”
Reilly began his journey in the coastal NSW town of Kiama before adventuring to Sydney to keep pursuing music. Since releasing his first single in 2015, Reilly has been putting in the hard yards to perfect his craft - and it’s paying off. He has built his brand from the ground up, establishing himself as a multi-talented artist with countless tricks up his sleeve. Reilly has played alongside highly renowned international acts like Gavin DeGraw (USA) as well as Australian upcomers Rat!Hammock and Slowly Slowly. Reilly won the triple j unearthed NIDA music video competition in April, allowing him to produce a music video for his single ‘Blood’.
Reilly shares, “'Blood' is also a meditation of frustration. Of feeling as though I’m just working all the time. Being honest with myself is a really liberating thing, and I’m feeling the frustration eases and I can remind myself that the work is the actual reward.”
This lead single begins with fast-paced guitar picking and isolated vocals, introducing us to Reilly’s distinctive voice. Piano, percussion and angelic background harmonies build to a dark yet gorgeous chorus.
My mouth is all filled up with blood / We throw ourselves into the flood
The music video depicts Reilly retrieving objects of significant sentimental value for people- creating a profound sense of solace and nostalgia.
Continuing the concept of surrender and vulnerability is another album highlight, ‘Old Guard’. Released as a single earlier in the year, Jack R. Reilly tackles the elephant in the room: male body image. Unapologetic and without hesitation, Reilly throws a dagger to the heart in the opening lyric.
I starve myself hollow so you see my muscles and I can feel more like a man
These confronting confessions are accompanied by melancholic acoustic guitar, gentle piano and subdued vocals. Reilly knows exactly the story he wants to share with us and how to tell it.
I take my shirt off and look in the mirror, disgusted with what I might see
There’s something about an artist bringing often neglected topics to light that demands respect and recognition.
Although the weighty lyricism is abundant, Jack R. Reilly offers the perfect head banger with ‘Into the Fire’. Prepare for vivid post-corona virus fantasies as you imagine moshing to this one. Distorted electric guitar and thick coated percussion create the perfect opportunity for Reilly to flaunt his impressive vocal range.
If all of this means nothing, so walk the city in the rain/
I see myself reflected, what’s the rush?
I cover up my eyes and my face is just a mask
Reilly shared ‘Into the Fire’ was inspired by an identify crisis and feelings of uncertainty. Middle Everything is an emotional roller-coaster well worth the ride. Channeling his wide repertoire of talents, Jack R. Reilly has crafted the perfect soundtrack to a cinematic mood swing.
As much as we could rave endlessly about this album, we assure you Middle Everything has more to offer than just these few highlights. Far from forgettable, each haunting track leaves a lasting impact. Jack R. Reilly’s debut masterpiece deserves your undivided attention from start to finish. We cannot wait to see what else he has in store for us.
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