Jake Fletcher might not yet be a household name, however his name is known to many across the country. Not just a solo artist, Jake has fronted the bands Gramotones and Cupids, has played guitar for The Specials, has recently had one of his own songs Daltry Street featured on P P Arnold’s most recent album, as well as being employed performing covers and hosting open mic nights across Manchester, Saddleworth and Cheshire. Jake has gained recognition, respect and admiration from some of the most famous and successful musicians in the world, and although many people come and see him play in local pubs each week, his own material as a solo artist has been largely kept hidden away. Until now.
His debut album, released today, just two days before Christmas, is a wonderful collection of songs. Some with an important political message, others deeply personal, but despite the differences between them, each one is carefully crafted, written, performed and showcases Jake’s incredible talent for song -writing. Fans of Jake’s previous bands Gramotones and Cupids will be familiar with one or two tracks from this album, and anyone who has been fortunate enough to see any of his live performances over the last year or two will also recognise some songs too.
The opening track was written a while ago, and yet has never been more pertinent than the present day. No One Talks is a song all about censorship in the media, the current state of our country and the fact that the general public have lost hope, and don’t talk about the important things in society. It is punchy, angry and yet encased in a catchy melody. It has a distinct rock feel to it, and cleverly repeats the title throughout, reminding us of all the things we should be talking about and why. It’s a great song with an important message and straightaway grabs our attention.
Power Never Changes follows No One Talks, and delivers another politically motivated message. Its tone is dark and brooding, with an underlying angry guitar sound. However, the vocals are sung clearly so each word can be heard and the message is delivered clearly. It is like a warning this song. An ode to the political climate that we now find ourselves in the midst of. It is clear from these first two songs, that Jake is an artist who wants to reach out to people and sing about important matters that affect us all, and this is one of the many things that sets him apart from other musicians.
P45 has a very singer-songwriter feel to it. Although its title eludes to something instantly recognisable to us all, it’s a personal song and one which Jake jokes about when he performs it, often telling audiences that he’s never had a job in his life! The song is very different in style and sound to the previous two, the instrumentation is softer, less raucous and appeals to us on a personal level, reminding us all of some job or other where we have been underappreciated. However,r it has a sense of optimism too, as indicated in the line ‘I felt so new with just a coat and my P45’, like a reassurance that the end of a job just signifies a new beginning.
The rest of the album has a very personal feel to it. Jake demonstrates his ability as an artist to write about things, situations and feelings that we can all identify with. He has an incredible insight into human emotion and through his song writing can touch those privileged enough to hear his songs. There are more than a few tracks on the album that could be huge hits. One such example being Cover In A Storm. I think what makes this song so accessible is it suggests that we all need someone in our lives who will be there for us. It celebrates an unconditional love and describes that comforting feeling of having someone in your life who will always be there to love and protect you, but also someone who cares for others too. It is a beautiful song, the message is simple, uplifting and comforting all at once, sung eloquently, with slow seductive phrasing and with a stripped back melodic instrumentation. Just sublime.
Other stand out tracks on this album are Feels So Wrong and I Might Feel Better. Feels So Wrong is immediately catchy, with a strong steady beat, riff and percussion. It seems to be all about instinct, and trusting your own intuition when things go wrong. It’s about looking back on something, realising that when things aren’t going right, you need to trust how you feel. The line ‘my heart’s never changed’ seems to emphasise that sense of importance in trusting our instincts.
I Might Feel Better is perhaps the most poignant track on the album, opening on a wavering couple of notes, and long lingering vocals, it depicts the need to sometimes be alone in thought, and yet the need to talk about how we feel and to reach out to others. This is definitely one of the most moving ballads on the album, and one that we can all relate to. It’s just stunning.
Jake is certainly one of the most gifted and capable musicians out there on the Manchester music scene. His ability to write catchy powerful melodies, with poignant, heartfelt and meaningful lyrics, sets him apart from his peers. I would urge anyone who wants some new music to listen to that will touch their hearts and minds to have a listen to Jake Fletcher, and if you do, I doubt you will ever look back.
Jake Fletcher is on Facebook and Twitter.
The album is released today and is available on CD from Jake's store.
The launch show for the album takes place at Night People in Manchester tonight (December 23). Tickets are available here.
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