By Jake & The Jellyfish
Jake & The Jellyfish are a 4-piece Leeds based punk-folk-reggae band made of Jake, Rich, Caffs and Steve. This rather unique cocktail of styles throws together a mean musical Lynchburg Lemonade and delivers it on a flaming platter in the form of their new album "Dead Weight", released on 6th April 2015 on CD, 12" Vinyl, and through Digital Download.
As I hear the usual thud of my headphones as I release them to encase my earlobes I notice this is a 12 track offering and I mentally rub my hands together in anticipation. I've been hearing a great deal about this band, and an opportunity to review this album was way too good a chance to pass up. The artwork looks great and my coffee is still spinning in my cup as I hit play. Here goes.
I am met with happy things. First of all I am met with a fast as a whippet intro which cheekily sets the scene before I am introduced to the vocals and the band's rather epic sounding track "DIY". This is both tongue-in-cheek and polished and also happens to be a wonderful two-fingers up to getting old. Some wonderful drumming and Ska lines join me for track two "Coffee Tally". The brass delivery has a fun and bouncy edge that balances the vocals perfectly. Speaking of which... I am very impressed with the raw and insanely catchy style of the singer, Jake. I'd say he gives Alex Turner a run for his money and that the lyrics and delivery have that similar attitude the Arctic Monkeys get but with a much more bouncy and fun edge.
"Dead Weight" is the title track and is a catchy masterpiece that I have to admit, I instantly had to listen to again it is that good. We see the ska influence again being used to superb effect with amazing accents and stabs being used whilst great lyrics grab your attention just long enough for you to join in singing along. This is that type of song. It's ace, and my favourite track on the record I think. "Tour Talk" feels like an extension to the title track with a twist into a minor Ska intro which then develops into an absolute anthem. This is a very clever song that again sees great musicianship and expert structuring and developing of the catchy as hell melodies.
Track six is "Don't Follow The Leader" which takes us down a very different route altogether, but one which suits the band immensely, and so the full picture of what the band are about comes into view. This has an almost Hayseed Dixie feel to it but then bursts into a guitar romp of a chorus. Expert song-writing at its best with some attitude slung in for good measure. The violin deserves a special mention here too... playing a gorgeous folk melody which seems to mimic the comedic walk of a drunken patron making their way back to the bar rather unsuccessfully. Simply brilliant. "23" continues the deep south feel with a cheeky song that is guaranteed to raise a smile. The high pace is pulled right back for track 8 "Intentions/Expectations" which is a slower Ska number that has an Incubus style attitude to it over the verses and this contrast is a great recipe that suits Jake & The Jellyfish like a glove. "Borders" revisits the folky-roots and delivers a homey and warming song that develops into a smiley barn-dance track with bouncy drums and jolly guitar and violin.
"Real Life" is a fast-paced and attitude filled monster of a punk-folk track which gives everyone the chance to let their hair down, both in the band and any potential festival goers. This song is where you charge your glasses and don't care too much how much mead you spill on the hay covered floor. The twist though, is that the lyrics are not as cheerful as the song style makes things seem, and are extremely clever. The gist of the lyrics point out that "if this is what you need to succeed then I'd rather fail" and is a track worthy of listening closely to... fabulous lyrics. "Homesick" is as you would hope, a hankering track with anthemic and euphoric melodies that soar. The final track "Hypocrites" is a great little folk track, focusing on misfortunes as some Folk music does and this really works as a thoughtful and clever outro track.
All the songs are brilliantly written and seem designed to build and very much promote dancing up and down in all forms that you are comfortable with. The songs are carefully thought out in tempo and pace too which really keeps the variety level high throughout. I would love to see this band at a huge festival, and would be delighted to have this album blaring out of my speakers as I pitch my muddy tent in a space it really shouldn't fit in.
Jake & The Jellyfish should be on your radar in my opinion. They are sharing links on their Facebook page for you to go and have a listen to this album for yourself. I don't think you'll be disappointed.