Published Mar 06, 2019Plucked from the throngs of self-releasing indie artists and launched into critical acclaim by none other than Jay Som's Melina Mae Duterte, Justus Proffit pricked ears in 2018 when he and Duterte released their collaborative EP, Nothing's Changed. Proffit's first full-length solo album, L.A.'s Got Me Down, amplifies the earthy, honest noise exhibited in past work, culminating in an unpretentious and soulful record that will surely appeal to nostalgic listeners.
Likened by many to early Elliott Smith, most of Proffit's tracks feature little post-production embellishment. The pared-back mixes allow listeners to revel in the charm of his melancholic whine and chugging rhythm guitar — the result is cozy and cool in equal measure. The lyrics "Take me back to my childhood, take me back," which appear on the album's third track, "Solidified," might sound saccharine or silly, were they not sung so earnestly against a stripped-back, folksy melody.
Ever resolute in his classic rock sensibilities, the heavier among the tracks experiment with something akin to an '80s vibe. "You" pairs a surf rock rhythm with a moody, synthesized bass line —it's eclectic without being busy.
L.A.'s Got Me Down relies heavily on musical tropes from days gone by, and Proffit wears his influences on his sleeve — along with Smith, glimmers of Neutral Milk Hotel and Conor Oberst-isms are evident throughout. Nevertheless, Proffit's personality shines through on most every track and the words he sings are decidedly his own. (Bar/None)