>> Cooled Jets, Samuel Proia’s side project, brings in a wide range of ideas filled with frustrated lyrics binded with punchy hooks—the quintessential of early power pop.
Since 2015, Samuel Proia, the Syracuse musician and drummer of The Demos, has been recording under the name Cooled Jets. The project emphasizes flexible power pop that is an experimental endeavor at times. From the assertive to light riffs to his frustrated and reflective lyrics, Proia’s side project is just as exciting as what he’s doing with The Demos.
Proia’s powerful vocals strike on the opening track “In this Life.” The rough chords along with Proia’s despairing lyrics with lines like “Looking for a friend in this life / who won’t let me down,” points out the truth about growing up and losing friends who have disregarded you. The grooving and jangly lead single “I Can Help” is practically Proia’s “Don’t Hurt My Little Sister” by the Beach Boys, but with Weezer written all over it (the good side of course)—particularly the bridge. The spiraling standout “bomb.com” along with “I Could Put Down My Guitar” carries a lively party atmosphere, countering the feeling Proia felt on the opening track. The track could have fit nicely on the last Vampire Weekend album. Proia’s soothing vocals carry the minimal “Splits,” which also resembles the lo-fi style of the Beach Boys from the mid-sixties, particularly the album “Friends.”
However, the quirky and floating harmonies sound nothing like the Beach Boys on the heavy experimental and versatile “Pretty Girl from Brewerton,” which is filled with a dazzling array of instrumentals. After the cheesy but romantic “Thruway Trolls,” Proia then does a brief lo-fi cover of “God Only Knows,” a classic Beach Boys track.
Proia gets more personal on the last couple tracks. On the gloomy piano driven “Fall,” Proia’s melancholic vocals invoke nostalgia as the lyrics deal with being in a distant relationship. The closing track “Met Her in July” is more upbeat, one of the more experimental and zany ballads with Proia’s most sincere vocal approach.
Proia along with The Demos and even some bigger acts like The Lemon Twigs and EZTV are trying to revive a genre that hasn’t had the best success in the music industry since its commercial peak in the late-seventies. He’s paying homage to the pioneers of power pop like the Beach Boys, the Beatles, and some early 2000s emo, but in a very minimal and DIY style. Even though Proia is now a member of The Demos, it might be a bit until we see another full release from Cooled Jets. But, given how Proia records almost anything musically that comes to mind, I wouldn’t be surprised if he releases something new tomorrow.
Essential Tracks - “Pretty Girl from Brewerton,” “Bomb.com,” “I Can Help” and “Splits”
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