As the year finally begins to draw to a conclusion and new releases begin to slow, there are still some gems to be found and to hear the return of a voice we’ve long missed seems a more than fitting way to bring a long and testing year to a close. After Dave Jakes’ departure from the inimitable Lonely The Brave in 2018, it seemed unlikely that we would hear from him again, so the release of his self-titled EP is a welcome surprise for fans of his unique style.
That said, this seven track ‘mini-album’ isn’t simply Lonely The Brave reimagined. Though it’s impossible to escape all similarity, given how Jakes’ distinctive vocals link the two, this solo outing feels somehow softer, gentler; in place of the echoing, arena filling alt rock (or at least some of it) are subtle harmonies and a calming atmosphere, though still feeling expansive enough to engulf a room. Lead single ‘Been In My Dream’ opens with a comforting familiarity before leading into the magnificent ‘Silhouettes’, where each moment builds in haunting layers of vocals and strings until it becomes all-encompassing; each track feels like its own mini-saga, with Jakes’ ability to tell story through sound on full display.
Lyrically, this EP is full of sincerity and poetic magic; Jakes has always been a master of thought-provoking words, and though the meaning isn’t necessarily worn on the sleeves of these tracks, there’s plenty to dive into should you wish to. And if not, it in no way takes away from the power of the songs – Jakes is able to convey a whole world of emotion in his voice alone, and it’s balanced beautifully with vocals from Melissa Baker and Grace Kuhl throughout.
Although longer than your usual EP at seven tracks, the time spent listening flies by – its 23-minute run time flows like a swift-moving mountain stream, and is equally as refreshing. At a busy time of year for everything but new music, we can only hope that this release isn’t lost amongst the festive chaos, as it’s easily deserving of widespread attention. Utterly transfixing from beginning to end, Dave Jakes’ return is the perfect tonic for a wild world – and it’s one we’re more than happy to lose ourselves in.