As the lead singer of Pure X, Jesse Jerome Jenkins V made hazy psych-pop as blissed out as his band’s moniker would imply. But it’s been three years since the release of Angel, leaving fans to wonder what became of the Austin act. That changed last month when Jesse (going by his first name only) shared “Hard Sky,” the first single from an upcoming album of the same title, slated for release June 23 via Uniform Group. Now, he’s released a second single, “De-pression,” which adds a nuanced new perspective in the growing conversation surrounding mental health.
Though there have been plenty of songs to tackle this weighty topic, there are few that favor chimes and mellotron over guitar-driven angst. Vocally, Jenkins channels Tyrannosaurus Rex-era Mark Bolan in his ruminations on the nature of chemical imbalance. In one choral couplet, Jenkins describes depression “like a hammer down on me” and a “flower just for me” over a nonchalant bass groove; the track is less an attempt to cheer himself up as it is an attempt to embrace the emotional ups and downs so many have experienced. While riding out a depressive episode without professional help isn’t advisable for all, there’s something to be said for Jenkins’ fearless portrayal of his personal struggle. His honest narrative goes a long way toward encouraging dialogue from an angle acceptance, and its melodically soothing tones might provide a salve for frayed nerves in the process.