From the title and artwork which features TV’s being thrown out of windows and pub fights you might be lead to the assumption that what follows is confrontational, rabble rousing and a mass of punk ethics. The reality is that it is confrontational only in the messages that the songs carry, rabble rousing in small, personal ways and its punk ethic is that of a year zero approach, a slaying of traditional musical heroes, a break with the what has come before.
The dual personality of what Jake does is neatly summed up in the glorious I Don’t Wanna Be Your Heroes, where he rallies against the likes of The Levellers, New Model Army and Frank Turner over music that comes from a similar place. But the message is always one of being yourself, of remembering what matters in life, the people not the payslips, the moments not the mortgage payments, finding your own way through the world and not playing by too many rules.
Musically it is great, on top of straight, honest and punchy guitar lines, there is never much more than a fleeting cello, an occasional banjo or mandolin and a steady beat which leaves the vocals as the main selling point which is very important when you have lyrics this good. Lyrics where small town, kitchen sink dramas reveal themselves to be universal life lessons and personal revolutions become templates for world change. The revolution isn’t on the streets; it’s in your head, your attitudes and outlook on life.
So it has all been done before, of course it has, but what Jake brings is a message of individuality, of rage turned to contemplation, of social comment and a gentle distain for those still star struck by scene and celebrity. But more than that these messages are grafted on to songs that are so memorable, so accessible and so great that you will be singing them on the way home from the gig long before you revel in playing the CD the next day. You did buy a CD right?