After seven years of EPs and split releases, Pessimist is Jabs' chance to develop his atmospheres across the span of a full-length album, and he's made the most of it. Pessimist unfolds like a movie, filled with dramatic tones that build into tense arcs. But in this particular film, each scene is shot from a single, locked-down angle. For every track, Jabs crafts a core rhythm whose steadfast persistence could've been tedious. But his knack for surrounding his beats with subtle textures intensifies his tracks, making them into twisting plot points in an evolving narrative.
The story that Pessimist tells can seem cold, which is surely intentional. Jabs has always seemed to enjoy wrapping his music in a cavernous, reverberant chill. But his energetic beats are like a warm heart throbbing beneath frozen surfaces. They also evoke many moods. On "Spirals," his mechanical rhythm feels ominously robotic. "Glued" sounds like a hip-hop track performed in a tomb. He can vary his tone within tracks, too. On "Bloom," his loping beat gains momentum via acoustic drums, while the gunshot pulse of "Peter Hitchens" dips into beatific breaks before resuming its assault.
The particulars of each cut on Pessimist are less important than the cumulative whole. Jabs sequences his tracks so that they feel like extensions of each other, as if he's struck rhythmic oil and can use it to fuel every musical idea. As a result, Pessimist has a consistency that's rare for a debut album, reflecting how fully-formed Jabs' vision already is.