Jacob & Drinkwater
More Notes from the Field
Polyphonic Sounds

An Album That Deserves to Find Favour Amongst Not Only The Folk Crowd, But The Hipster Elite Too

Tobias Ben Jacob and Lukas Drinkwater have been going as a duo since 2014 – both being heavily involved in lot of disparate projects and are often separated domestically by many miles; so this album is not just a new release, but also an update and a check-in to let the listener know that all is still well and active in J&D Land.

The loose theme running through the album is of ‘friendship and connection’ and contains a number of songs written during the pandemic and a few unreleased tracks reimagined from their live archive.
The (almost) title track kicks things off and it’s a gently catchy and pragmatic homage to the life of a musician, the vagaries of “cool” and the true joy only found in performance.

The theme of friendship appears most explicitly on the following track “Perennial Friend” which declares that
When the light is hard to see / You’’ll always have a friend in me
it’s a grateful tribute to those who support us when times are not so good, all couched in a James Taylor-esque musical and melodic narrative.

“Higher Than the Moon” (a live favourite recorded in the studio for the first time) has the bravery to use a “moon-June” rhyme in the first line, albeit in a non-romantic context and it’s another tale of companionship and how we can be drawn out of ourselves by others – nice harmonies give it a bit of a Barenaked Ladies (the band, not ladies without apparel I hasten to add) feel too.
The tempo eases even further for “Golden Man” which has the lyrical and melodic ghost of Springsteen’s “The River” never too far away, albeit set in a much more mystical place.

“Nowhere on Sea” is a song of unfulfilled promise, set amongst well-observed lyrics of urban decay and mundanity.
It’s a distant cousin of Morrissey’s “Every Day is Like Sunday” in terms of its musical mis-en-scene in how it paints the greyness of a life not fully lived.

“The Nameless” brings in some electronic rhythm to guide lyrics of hope in a world of darkness -despite the non-acoustic accompaniment, it fits well into the gentle modus operandi of the album and adds a further musical dynamic. “A Day Out of Time” tackles the transience of life, love and beauty and the rolling finger-picking that accompanies the song mimics this temporal theme.

“To Call You Friend” is another song that explicitly tackles the album’s core theme – “take care of the ones you love” and it does so with a narrative of a character in need of love; and Emily Barker’s backing vocals make a telling appearance, giving the song a Linda Thompson edge.

“Sargasso Sea” is a song of the anchor of home with a shuffled gentle train-beat and whistle solo – it’s the sort of song that the producer of “Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing” tends to favour with its modernistic nostalgic feel.
The notion of surviving the times that have passed and are yet to come, in a less nostalgic, but optimistic vein is dealt with on “For Old Time’s Sake” before the album closer “The Other World” tells of connection between this world and the past and other spiritual places – its Richard Hawley type twangy reverb-soaked guitar help to create the sense of mystery that runs through the core of the song.

All-in-all, the album draws its strengths together well from a variety of sources – Jacob’s songwriting (he wrote every song) and Drinkwater’s multi-instrumentalism and production wizardry make this an album that deserves to find favour amongst not only a folk crowd, but further afield too, which could be the hipster elite according to our Editor at Large!

Review by Nick Barber

RELEASED 29th October 2021


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