Dave Jakes – Dave Jakes

By The Time It Gets Dark (label)

11 December 2020 (released)

21 h

There’s a glint of a hint of Doves’ s Jimi Goodwin’s ‘diamonds amidst the bleakness’ perspective on former Lonely the Brave frontman Dave Jakes’ first solo release. Having a two-year hiatus to take stock, gather thoughts, assess and reassess ‘what next?’ paying rich dividends on this short, but, far from slight album. There are ladders, doorways, windows, all literally and metaphorically acting as ways in … and routes of escape.

Jakes’s exhortations here range from the real-world-weary to the dream-world wary (at times his ethereal vocals are a spit for Nick Drake), the album’s sound traversing rousing heartland-anthems (Echelon’), ambient-folk (‘Been in my dream’, ‘Be the apple’) and a nod to his alt-rock roots (‘Caterwaul’).

Opener ‘Been in my dream’ evokes David (Pink Floyd) Gilmour’s expansive yet intricate workouts. Equally liminal and minimal with excellent backing vocals from Melissa Baker and Grace Kuhl. He wishes ‘you’ were ‘there’.

‘Silhouettes’ reminds of Tears for Fears circa 1989’s album ‘The Seeds of Love’ in its lush, plush, brush strokes with The Last Dinosaur’s Rachel Lanskey and Jamie Cameron contributing vivacious viola and plaintive piano respectively that add sombre upbeats to the tender downbeating orchestration. And vice versa. A spectral shadow in aural form.

A relationship doomed from the outset, a love that’s sour from the get-go informs ‘Caterwaul’, a tale of a fait accompli/fate accompanied. ‘Echelon’ is magisterial (despite it being about workplace bullying), a slow-burning proggish epic that showcases Jakes’s vulnerable, yearning emotions as he mournfully moans ‘everything is lost’.

This is a very moody, atmospheric, ‘feeling’ album of bruised soul-searching that touches the parts other tears cannot reach.

It’s a shame there’s only seven songs, however, it bodes well for Jakes’s next move.