Oxted, UK-based producer, flautist, and songwriter Jason Nolan makes an intricate brand of indie pop with wonderful textures and musicality that is still very accessible due to his pop sensibilities. Nolan is gearing up to release his second EP, Wonder Years, and the first offering is “Penny.”
The song is half irresistibly catchy pop and half exquisitely layered instrumental. From the very beginning, Nolan comes in spouting a smooth flowing melody with somewhat of a sing-song rap cadence, cutting through a cha-cha-esque repetitive pattern with a bouncy cowbell, hypnotic, oscillating synths, and subdued drums. About halfway through, the song careens into wonderful experimentation, roaming different soundscapes. A 40-second instrumental break brings in fluttering synth sweeps, beautiful piano flourishes, and more complex drums before Nolan’s voice rejoins and everything combines for a lovely experience. Here’s what Nolan had to say about the track and what inspired him to create it:
I suppose musically this track is one of my more pop-orientated. The instrumental is I guess hip-hop influenced by producers such as Noah “40” Shebib, but also influenced texturally by electronic music producers such as Gold Panda or Segal. The main lyrical theme is the concept of materialism at a really young age. The track touches on the negative knock on effects of young materialism through the eyes of a 5 year old in regard to having a sense of entitlement, being showy and frivolous. I guess like a lot of kids there was definitely a time when collecting Pokemon cards was my everything.
Wonder Years is out 5/27 on Majestic.