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?
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?
Our good friend, talented chap and all round good egg, Jake Martin is looking for help to fund his second album. Here is what it is all about in his own words
After a year of touring as a solo artist and falling in love with this life it’s time for the next step! Its time to make another record! I want to make something truly special, I want to make the people who have put their faith in me over the last year proud! This record is also the release I plan to tour around the world! in March 2016 I am leaving my home and job here in the UK to to wander of into the sunset with my songs and my guitar! Australia and Europe tours are being booked as we speak and there is a load more in the pipeline!