Capacity to Change – Jamie R Hawkins (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Capacity To Change front image onlyA stalwart of the local scene as part of the duo Juiceyacoustic, it is Jamie’s solo, original work that resonate most memorably with me, evoking such classic songwriters as Squeeze’s Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook, Crowded House’s Neil Finn and Justin Currie of Del Amitri fame. There is something in the classic guitar lines and effortless melody that spring from his songs that make them so instantaneous and accessible, bonefide future classics in the making.

These five songs (plus a bonus demo) capture the natural, largely unadulterated, nature of what he does. Although there are extra guitars, percussion and strings present, they are put to sparing yet effective use, merely framing the songs and make the live experience and the studio recording largely interchangeable, something quite refreshing in this more is more modern age.

Something about the vocal delivery on opening number Denial just rings out like a long lost Neil Finn song, not in a plagiaristic sort of way, more in a general agreement that as a way to deliver good, acoustic pop songs, there are worse people to set your sights on. And so it is across this collection of songs you are occasionally reminded of writers and their works that have passed from mere songsmiths to household names and it isn’t too hard to imagine these songs having a similar trajectory.

Come Undone seems the most poignant of the tracks here, a personal soul searching with its raw introspection softened by a mournful cello that threads through the song, somehow celebratory in its honesty, cathartic and touching. And to a large degree that is the appeal of the Jamie’s song writing, it is mixed with a heady combination of from the heart self analysis and universal truths, stark realities and street level wisdom which makes the lyrics as appealing as the melody driving it . Put the two together and you have something quite magical.

 

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