J.C. Soon Offers Vibrant and Hopeful Debut With “Brenda”

Review by Kenny Bieber

March 23, 2021

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For many artists going solo can come with its own set of challenges, not the least limited to establishing a lyrical perspective all one’s own. For singer-songwriter J.C. Soon who has served as a bassist in notable local acts such as Bobby Mahoney and The Seventh Son, he’s managed to mine his personal experiences for something genuinely authentic and exhilarating on his debut EP Brenda which serves as a strong showcase for his introspective yet hopeful songwriting and vibrant influences ranging from ALT-rock and indie pop to ambient music all managing to come together in one cohesive whole.

Lyrically, Brenda explores themes of relationships, communication and heritage with strong doses of relatability, honesty and a refreshingly understated approach that allows for each song to come fully alive. Musically, as well, each track navigates a diverse soundscape with arrangements ranging from elegant to brooding to serene ... all instilled with elements of rock and alternative to give the proceedings momentum and resonance. The record’s versatility and scope can be most deeply indicated on tracks such as lead single “Stories” a glistening piece of New Wave inspired ALT-pop with an ethereal hook and lyricism anchored by a tender vocal performance by Soon. The deeply emotive “Talk” (which is arguably the most insightful track on the record) is fueled by a pulsating indie-rock foundation with some rich lyricism regarding communication and honesty within a relationship. Both tracks illustrate the record’s uniqueness and sonic and lyrical diversity.

One of the most notable aspects about Brenda is the organic nature of both its songwriting and production. The shimmering elegance of “Stories” transitions seamlessly into the atmospheric rock of “Talk” and it contrasts its varying moods with a notable sense of elegance and craftsmanship that allows each track to feel fully lived in, leaving an impression on the listener.

As a lyricist and performer Soon explores his subject matter with a sincerity and maturity that allows his themes to shine through without any degree of overindulgence or heavy-handedness. In terms of sequencing and flow, each track builds off the other seamlessly and allows for each number to feel impactful in its own right while nicely tying together it’s musical and lyrical themes in a singular whole giving the listeners an immersive and engaging experience. Ultimately, it’s the passion and soul Soon instills within each track and his dynamic ear for sonic arrangements that truly allows Brenda to emerge as a promising triumph and strong establishment of his talents.

When it comes to going solo, there are many factors that determine or contribute to an artist’s success in that department. With Brenda, J.C. Soon manages to develop his own artistic identity with humanity, artistry and a welcoming sense of relatability. There’s always the conversation of where an artist’s career will arrive going forward. For Soon - as long he’s still got compelling “Stories” to share - his future is in good hands. The Brenda EP is streaming on all available platforms and be sure to follow Jon on all social media platforms as well!

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Kenny Bieber is a local music journalist and photographer who also highly values a good pun, quality milkshake and swears he doesn’t have too many records. He’s generally just happy to be here.


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