If Jake Martin’s last album presented an image of a loud, confrontational set of songs, what lay within was something subtler, far cleverer than the artwork may have suggested, it was full of messages but they were presented in a musical form that was very accessible. But if that was the album you play when you get home from a chilled night out, something to wind down to with the last drink before the bed calls, as the noise of the weekend dies down and the town sleeps, this time he is offering the soundtrack to a whole different night out.
We Take Them at Dawn is the rallying call, the sound of partying hard with good friends, of drinks being spilt, of dancing and daring, of laughter, a love of things that matter, of revolution not evolution. But it is also so much more, for whilst on the surface it works brilliantly as the score to a memorable night, in his usual fashion his lyrics are able to live a life of their own, documenting the lives, loves and losses of those at the bottom of the pile, of those eking out a living the hard way, those who have fallen through the cracks but somehow crawled back out all the better for it.
It is here that he manages to embrace his punk past and meld it on to intelligent lyrics; wit and wisdom are delivered with both barrels and between the rabble rousing and the small town rebelliousness there is real poetry. After all no one ever said these things had to be mutually exclusive, they just normally are. There is a trend at the moment, at grassroots level at least, for bands to copy existing punk-folk templates – ex-hardcore players suddenly reinvent themselves as Boston merchant seamen, those with folkier leanings seem to think we need a second coming of The Levellers and worst of all there is a whole swath of cider fixated Wurzel’s fans punking things up and totally missing the satire of the original.
Now I’m not saying that Jake has created a new movement here, he would be the first to admit that playing these songs is just a way of getting things off of his chest and maybe getting to see the world whilst doing so, but if there was a genuine new English folk punk movement, this is what I think it would sound like, these are the things it would talk about and this is the honesty it would employ. How great would that be?