The Same But By Different Means is the sound of Yves Jarvis chipping away at transcendence.
I’ve always been a morning person. When I was really young, I would be up at the crack of dawn, much to the chagrin of whatever family member was the lightest sleeper (sorry, Dad!). I defied the teenage stereotype. I woke up hours and hours before my friends (and their parents) at sleepovers and I never needed to be shaken out of bed in order to make it school on time. The flip side of waking up early and catching every hour of sunlight the day awards us is the when the night comes, it’s nearly impossible to stay awake past midnight (I cannot tell you how many movies I have only seen the first thirty minutes of). As midnight approaches, things start to appear blurred, sounds and conversations turn to hums. This is especially true when late nights combine with intoxicants, as they often do. My mind turns inward and stupid; soft and blue.
Blue is the colour of Jean-Sebastian Audet’s second album, The Same But By Different Means. His previous album, Good Will Come To You was yellow, purportedly his favourite colour. He, like me, prefers the daytime. “Where the last record was the joy of the morning, and optimism, this record is the pain of the night before sleep,” he says in the album’s press materials. “The night is just completely imposed and weighing so heavy, and this is a much more difficult realm to walk around in, texturally.” I feel this on a deep level and perhaps that’s why I have found The Same But By Different Means so much more difficult to latch onto than his previous effort. That isn’t to say it isn’t as good (it’s better), but I really feel that weight Audet refers to. Good Will Come To You is filled with self affirmations, a bright outlook and appreciation for life, community, and the world around us. It was easy to find comfort in the music, the sentiment, and the colour.
The Same But By Different Means, by design, is a little more difficult to parse. To me, it’s about capturing the night time’s unique movement and life, while reconciling with the weight and pain that Audet perceives. It’s an album about change, cycles, and accepting and living with those constants. It’s an album about trying to understand how someone might find the same joy and optimism Audet feels during the day, but in the evening hours. Audet doesn’t seem to be someone who fears change, because his art is constantly informed by the challenge of reconciling with it. Look no further than the name attached to The Same But By Different Means. Audet now goes by the name Yves Jarvis, changed from his previous moniker Un Blonde. I’d be willing to wager that this will not be the first or last time he changes name between album cycles.
In his name selection and his art alike, Audet is a searcher. His music serves as a vehicle with which he can navigate his journey to understanding himself and the world around him. The patience and restraint displayed on The Same But By Different Means is part of that journey. In life, understanding is rarely immediate. It comes in fits and starts. Audet demonstrates this to those who will take the time to learn through his music. Grooves and hooks appear and disappear like the briefest moments of clarity that go unwritten and are lost to the night and to sleep. This restraint he applies to his music serves a purpose: it allows him to withhold the finished picture and delay the satisfaction that will inevitably come with repeated listens.
Yes, sad streamers, this music requires your attention and some effort. But the beauty of that is that it never gets old; it keeps you guessing, discovering, and wanting more. These songs do not serve the algorithm or the playlist, they serve you, the listener. This ability to hold back, omit instruments and not fall into familiar or repetitive patterns has lead Audet to a sound that is not genre bending or defiant, but genre building. Neo-soul, jazz fusion, hip-hop, blues, and Laurel Canyon folk music all make appearances but are never fully leaned on. It’s only exhausting if you’re more concerned with trying to keep track of the ingredients. Do yourself a favour and just enjoy the meal.
The music Audet makes is wholly original, and full to the brim. There are familiar sounds throughout — you’ll hear shades of Nick Drake, D’Angelo, J Dilla, Joni Mitchell, Brian Wilson — but he is not imitating, he is building upon a foundation laid by artists who were also innovators, seakers, and truth interpreters. He makes art that’s destined to be underappreciated in its time, and lionized in the future, because that’s where he operates. “Forward, oooooh yeah, ooooo forward”.
The Same But By Different Means is the sound of Audet chipping away at transcendence. As he suggests on the record, he is barely over twenty years old and already he has a deep understanding of what he is capable of and what he has the power to do. That said, he craves a deeper understanding. And lucky for us he wants to share his discoveries in the most satisfying and powerful way he knows how. Audet wants us to know that we are capable of understanding too, but sometimes it means turning around 360 degrees — listening instead of talking; staying up late, instead of waking up early.