Jeremy Jay, ‘A Place Where We Could Go’ (K)
Naïveté played right can be charming and/or mysterious — see Daniel Johnston or Kimya Dawson — but without a songwriting spark, willfully simple can sound badly underdone. Lanky young Jeremy Jay is not a technically good singer, but that’s excusable; the problem is the palpable overconfidence he has in his debut album’s half-baked songs. The finger-snapping, spoken-word vibe of “While the City Sleeps” comes off like a monologue from a high-school musical, while “The Living Dolls” clumsily merges indie rock with doo-wop. Those enraptured by every Beat Happening song ever — BH’s Calvin Johnson produced A Place Where We Could Go — might find something to love here. Everybody else, not so much.