Jennifer Maher Coleman didn’t plan to create the perfect pandemic album, but that’s exactly what “This Perfect Day” sounds like.
With its science-fiction-inspired lyrics and carefully layered synth sounds, the album creates a sonic landscape that feels incredibly relatable to life amid a pandemic.
Many know Coleman from work as a DJ and the band Haley Moley, but in the last year or so she’s been focusing on Architrave, an electronic-New Wave solo project.
“Architrave is my opportunity to see my vision realized, undiluted,” Coleman said.
The Ballston Spa resident writes the songs and her husband, Paul, supports with bass and guitar lines. They’ve released a few singles since last year, but today they’re releasing their first full album, “This Perfect Day.”
“We definitely are going with a particular vibe and it turned out now to be appropriate to what’s happening,” Coleman said.
Much of the album is inspired by dystopias from beloved movies and books, like Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Lathe of Heaven,” which inspired the song “Elevation.”
“The basic idea in that book was a guy would dream something and he would wake up and it would have changed reality and history as you know it, which is sort of the feeling I get from the way we [are] told a truth that isn’t a truth and sort of becomes the truth,” Coleman said.
Another standout on the album is “Outside” which is inspired by the movie “The Truman Show.”
“My daughter is paranoid that she’s living in a world where everyone else is [an actor] and she’s the only person. She walks around being paranoid that she’s living in the Truman Show,” Coleman said.
Between sinister-sounding synth, Coleman questions reality, inspired by the same questions her daughter has asked her over the years.
Other songs echo a feeling that many have come to know all too well lately: being isolated from others. In “Yellow Lines” Coleman sings about running away and trying to distance herself from the rest of the world. The dance-worthy “Anonymous,” invokes the joy that comes from being alone in a crowd.
The opening song, “Come Through,” has steady synth and rhythmic cello-like beats surrounding its meta-message about the creative process. While some songs take time to develop, others seem to pop into Coleman’s mind fully formed, making her feel like she’s channeling rather than creating something.
“I’ve been so excited by Architrave [and] this song was about how thrilling it is to be able to do this and have the means to do it,” Coleman said.
Even though “This Perfect Day,” is the ideal dystopian soundscape, releasing the album amidst a pandemic, when live shows are not allowed, is tough. Yet, Coleman and her husband are making the most of it by streaming their album release show via YouTube.
“There’s so much going on right now with all these live streams. Everybody’s tuning into these concerts that people are doing on YouTube, Facebook Live and Instagram Live. Every night there seems to be something wonderful where everybody [gets] involved in. It’s creating this new community that I’m loving,” Coleman said.
At 8 p.m. on Thursday, they’ll perform songs from the album live, bringing in a few extra touches with loops.
“It’s not the same and I definitely miss being close to people and being in front of people’s actual faces but I’m super glad that we’re in a time where this technology is allowing us to connect in that way under the circumstances,” Coleman said.