This is a review of "Sequin Bug" recorded by Jacob. The review was written by Richard Garnett in 2001.
Halifax's Jacob give off a real sense of a band with all the right ingredients but just not quite ready to come out of the oven. Their power pop prog-rock sweeps along majestically on this 3 track CD but rarely grabs hold of the listener. There are obvious influences at work from the more acceptable Radiohead and Muse to the perhaps best forgotten Rush and Marillion. There is also a sense of have-a-go-at-prog creeping in at times and it is this and the odd mixture of influences that sometimes make this an awkward listen.
Opener 'Sequin Bug' tries at times to be too clever for it's own good and fails to sort itself out by the end of its five minutes. Yet take it apart and there is some very clever musicianship and songwriting going on here. Track 2 - 'Sand' is a real contrast and shows a band much more at ease with their style but yet again when it has the chance to finish off it's listener it opts for more prog-guitar and loses it's momentum. If this track were cut from its epic 7 minutes to a punchier 4 it would be a real contender. Now don't get me wrong I know a lot of this is down to personal preference, there are lots of admirers of fret wanking out there but don't forget people said Emerson, Lake And Palmer were admirable in the 70's. Closing song, 'Escape to Heaven' reverts to the struggling style of 'Sequin Bug' with maybe even more confusion.
What is frustrating about Jacob is that I know all the signs are there of something great waiting to happen. It may be that certain aspects of their music need cutting altogether before they are comfortable enough to write some of those songs that are so obviously just lingering below the surface. It's either that or be appealing to lot's of fret counting muso's.