The solo musical project of New York based actor, singer, and recording artist Jacob Anthony Cain, the eponymous CAIN has become one of the most exciting new talents to rise from the underground scene. A unique creative vision, CAIN has recently released his self-titled debut EP, billing it as a compilation of different musical influences, exploring elements of hip-hop, rock, electro-pop and punk.
As a concept, it’s a wonderfully intriguing idea, and over the course of five distinct tracks, ‘CAIN’ showcases a defiant creative spirit that sadly seems to be getting rarer and rarer in modern music. Opening with ‘Moving On’, the EP begins with a series of sweeping, luminescent tones and structured percussions knocks, capturing the electro-pop vibe and providing a strong foundation for Cain’s vocals. The chorus drops, bringing an impressive range from Cain along with a distinct Dreamer’s vibe, and while it hits hard, you can’t help but feel that his calls for this to be the best night of your life are just a little but hollow.
Second track ‘Good Life’ raises the bar with a musically sound and lyrically confusing look at hedonistic lifestyles, bringing massive pop energy and a heavier rock edge that’s combined with some stadium-sized, crowd pleasing moments. You can’t fault the music or Cain’s vocals, but it’s hard to tell from the lyrics whether he’s celebrating the pleasure-seeking lifestyle of rallying against it. Following cut ‘Sad Boy’ blends waves of emo sentiment and teen angst with energetic, glistening pop sounds, creating an interesting contrasted that subdues the cliched lyrics and makes it one of the catchiest songs on the release.
Dipping a toe tentatively into ballad territory, ‘Trust Issues’ is one of Cain’s most impressive and nuanced tracks, combining contrasting emotions, sound and styles that are all held together through a series of light flickering guitar strings and the rolling waves of percussion. It’s a definitive highlight of the album and probably the most authentic showing of Cain’s talents. Closing with ‘In The Clouds’, we’re treated with a Bastille-esque opening and more of the same electro-pop sounds. It’s a step down from the visceral splendour of ‘Trust Issues’, but a pleasing way to end the release, striking out with a faux-rap verse and a chorus that reach for dazzling pop highs.
A release that improves with each track, ‘CAIN’ falls in an in-between space between the glossy, unabashed pop of Chvrches and the crowd-pleasing rock of Saint Raymond, managing to capture elements of both artists’ successes, but not quite managing to emulate them. It’s polished, well-produced, and certainly an impressive EP, but there’s also a constant hint that it could be something much, much more.
You can stream the new EP in full above via Spotify, and grab your tickets to see CAIN performing live alongside Jiovanni Daniel and Ashley Hess on June 19th.