Monday, 7 March 2016

Jack Joseph Band: 'A Few More' Track-By-Track EP Review

London based Jack Joseph Band are made up of Jack Joseph (vocals & guitar), James Baldwin (drums), Alex Edwards (guitar) and Pete Wand-Tetley (bass guitar). They released their 5 track EP 'A Few More' on the 29th January, 2016. The band bravely decided to record 'A Few More' live – a challenge which, I think, they really pulled off. The album really captures their intimate and mellow sound. It's laid back and melodic tones will have you dreaming about summer rain, sandy beaches and dappled light. Listening to this album, I'm having a hard time trying to compare them to another band. I'm hearing some song-writing techniques that could be vaguely related to Jack Johnson, and some modern jazz guitar influences, but overall, this band have really created a distinct sound, accompanied by a warm, soft, mellow singing voice.


What are the band's influences? 

Jack: So many influences in terms of songwriting I don't know where to begin! One big influence though is the way someone like Neil Young or Bonnie Prince Billy record their music. It always sounds like four people playing music together in a room. That's definitely a vibe we go for when we record.

How did the band meet? 


Jack: I met James (drums) at a Death Cab For Cutie gig probably ten years ago, and we were in a band together before this project, which started out a solo thing but has merged into a band. Then Alex (guitar) joined us. We've had a bass player (Pete) for probably a little over a year now. Pete and I went to school with each other but we never played music together until recently.

Below is a track-by-track review of the EP:


'Believer'


'Believer' is the album's opening track, and the most popular of the five songs (it seems). It introduces the listener to the mellow tones of the Jack Joseph Band's style. I can really imagine this song being used for a film soundtrack; I picture someone staring out the window at rain falling down in sheets. The song is simple but effective. I like the little riffs in between the lyrics; they add to the pace of the song. Some might say it's melody is too much of a monotone, but I think they make it work and, hey, it worked for The Smiths! One criticism: I don't think it works as an opening track; the beginning of the song isn't catchy enough to start an album.

'This Time Around'


This song has an intriguing start. It draws in the listener with a happier guitar tune and is definitely the happiest sounding song of the album. I like the rhythmical interjections of percussion throughout, and I think parts of the melody are beautifully melancholic, which is accentuated by the faded end of the song.

'Dreamer'

While the first two songs reminded me of cloudy, rainy days, this song instantly sounds distinctly different – I'm now picturing a relaxed day in the countryside, perhaps a quite walk on a sunny summer's day with only you and your headphones for company. The melody made me think of Jack Johnson until the harmonies joined just over half way through the song – and what gorgeous harmonies they are, might I add! The song is slow and plodding; it's percussion is wonderfully contrasted with the happier tones coming from the guitar. In my opinion, this song would be best sung around a campfire on a sunny afternoon on a sandy beach; a can (or bottle) of beer in hand.

'What Can I Do?'

Now this should have been the EP's opener; what a punchy, brilliant beginning! It has a catchy tune and a fun and interesting trill on the percussion. The harmonies interjecting throughout the song really add to it and give it depth, as does the offbeat percussion rhythm. This song is so relaxed. To do is justice, it needs some incense, an open-top roof, and a long stretch of dappled leaves to drive under. It's perfect for a sunny afternoon, sunbathing at a folk festival – in my mind I can hear this song booming over a large field of sunbathing festival-goers.

'Keep It Stock'

'Keep It Stock' is the last song on the EP and is easily my favourite track. It brings the tone from a light-hearted place to one that is much darker and more melancholic. I can see myself listening to this song when I'm feeling really low and in desperate need of something to relate to. It's charged with emotion and perfect for the EP's closing track.



'Believer' is available for free download via this link: http://jackjoseph.bandcamp.com/track/believer

... and while you're at it, why not check out the video for the ‘Believer’:


Jack Joseph Band Upcoming Dates:


2nd March - The Lamb, Surbiton - Jack Joseph solo show

5th March – Slaughtered Lamb, Clerkenwell – Support to Mahoney and the Moment

10th April - The Gladstone, Borough - Free entry, full band show



You must see them live before it costs an arm and a leg!

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