Burger Records (Sept. 14, 2018)
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
At this point in his career, singer/songwriter/composer John Dragonetti is best known for his work with (now ex-wife) Blake Hazard in the Submarines and for film and TV scores (All About Nina, FX’s Married, We Are Legion, The Secret Life of Muslims). Before all that, however, the Bostonian led the underrated indie rock band Jack Drag.
Dormant since 2002, the moniker is back for 2018, a state of the union address from the low-key musical polyglot. Looking back at past relationships (and not just marriages) and forward to the present, Dragonetti soaks his tunes in bittersweetness. The synths ‘n’ percussion arrangement of “Bloody Noses” gives lightness to its emotional confusion, while the catchy hooks of “I Am Not Willing” bely its disillusioned theme. “Marigolds” pulls light out of the darkness through a subtly anthemic pop arrangement, while “Strangers” dips into sixties pop for its tunefulness and nineties angst for its heart. “Hope Revisited” goes unabashedly for its title concept, with brash hooks and unambiguous lyrics, though it almost feels like the forced giddiness of the damned.
With his now-signature blend of twinkly new wave and melancholic power pop, Dragonetti knocks out one sweetly melodic gem after another here, putting adult uncertainty and confusion to a catchy soundtrack.