Rewind to 2018. Jake Hoffman was the markedly talented frontman of The Gray Vines, a powerful, Jersey based punk rock band. Their single, “See Me,” earned its fair share of attention with the release of its associated EP, Obscene. Now, four years later, HOFFMAN is back and rolling out a solo career with his individual perspectives and musical faculties highlighted through his solo debut, “Reflection.” His vocals, which were the band’s driving force, still carry the same weight as they did before. However, he is the primary songwriter and the only person behind every instrument on each track. For new HOFFMAN listeners, “Reflection” is a strong first impression, especially with it being the title track of his upcoming fall album, Reflection. Those coming back from The Gray Vines fan base, if you thought you heard the best of HOFFMAN, you have barely scratched the surface; “Reflection” exposes more of his virtuosity than ever.
“Reflection” packs great depth when you consider how life is just one big reflection on itself, with it throwing people unexpected curveballs and sometimes unexplainable signs that pull them in directions fated by all that has happened already. Whether realized or not, we create our own realities to some degree, and this overarching theme is delivered so artistically through the song. The bass dominates with its relentless darkness partially brightened by high-pitched guitar stingers. Both propel the instrumental forward along with the booming kick drum that is accompanied by its subtler drum kit counterparts. Ultimately, the lyrics make the message blatantly known: “What is given will come back in infinite ways — maybe not how I expect to be repaid, but it always does come back.”
The “what goes around, comes around” concept allows the “Reflection” music video to feel like a two-and-a-half-minute movie encapsulating the nature of life. Every event and action affects us in the long run to the point that it can be haunting, and the very idea of it jolts HOFFMAN awake at the start of the visual. As reflections of himself follow him everywhere he goes, HOFFMAN stays alert and keeps watch over where he’s been and where he’s going. There is also something pressing and mysteriously palpable about the countdown spotted in the different greeting cards, signed from the past, present, and future. In the end, the karma catching up with him is guaranteed to have viewers hooked on the plot and its message.