The current local buzz about JESP, the new solo project by singer/songwriter/producer Joseph Espinoza, threatens to soon eclipse that of his old band, Outereach. That group, now defunct, never fit into any neat scene categories, floating somewhere in the sonic atmosphere between pop and prog. (This was, after all, an act that un-ironically proclaimed the Police and Peter Gabriel as influences while working the downtown circuit.) And while al the players in the group were able, what always stood out most about Outereach were Espinoza's vocals, which were supple and expressive, with a Sting-y kind of timbre.
It's suited equally well to his new sound as JESP, one that's simultaneously more hipster-friendly and commercially viable. The songs are built on gently pulsing, dancefloor-friendly but remix-ready electronic beats, which flit between sugary electro lite, freestyle, and New Romantic balladry. The '80s will never die, especially in Miami, and Espinoza has wisely captured just enough of that decade's musical inflections, while keeping his sound ready for pop radio in 2010.