A two-year break can do wonders for a musician's mojo. For the Dubai-based, Beirut-born rocker Jay Wud, it resulted in his second album, False Utopia, featuring an upbeat sound vastly different from the darker territory of his 2010 debut New Blood.
"It is more energetic," he says. "I think the melodies are catchy because I was trying to hit both the rock and commercial side."
Those fearing the guitar whizz has traded in his killer fretwork for cheesy riffs will be pleased with the sprightly lead single Incomplete Heart.
Anchored by a delicious groove, the track barrels along to a memorable chorus. Wud explains this was the game plan. "I think it has an edginess and a commercial side to it," he says. "Everyone can relate to it but it is also not easy-listening."
Wud says the change of sound came as result of having his own three-piece band, whose songwriting sessions gave the new tracks bigger bounce.
"The band's input changed a lot of stuff in terms of the beats and the grooves of the bass lines," Wud explains.
"I think it brought a lot to the table and made it interesting."
With False Utopia set for release in November, Wud is planning a slew of shows across the UAE and the wider region before heading to Europe.
He plans to implement the lessons learnt from supporting the likes of Aerosmith when they headlined one of Abu Dhabi's F1 after-race concerts in 2009. Wud played the guitar for the supporting band Paulak, which allowed him to catch backstage action when the bands hit the venue.
"I was very impressed by how professional everything was," he recalls. "Everyone had a job and you realise this is how it should be done."
Incomplete Heart is out now. Visit www.jaywud.com