Darktown Jubilee

Coming from Manchester are indie-rockers Darktown Jubilee whose debut album is rather impressive, being an understated tour de force. Not least for being released on their own label “Parade Recordings”, and therefore being involved in almost every aspect of it’s production.

The album carries with it a certain simplicity to it’s sound as they takes you on a journey of emotion, whilst being precariously balanced between their refreshing sound but at times also a haunting and melancholic sound. Whilst at times breaking into the area of anthemic rock, particularly “When You’re Wrong”, with its poignant yet catchy lyric “you’ve got the guns, but we got the numbers”. Yet it is followed by the amazingly gentle, and dare I say it beautiful sounding “Beautiful Night” as the track is carried more by the vocals than the sparse soundtrack. Although this gentle illusion is shattered as they break into “Lost” upping the tempo, and energy with it’s layered sound and subtle use of the instruments all blending producing a catchy track that betrays the thoughtful inquisitive lyrics.

Opening with “Breakdown” with it’s upbeat tempo, drum led, sound, and interesting synth sounds in the background, all held together with some very discrete guitar work. As the lyrics take you headlong into someone who is on the verge of a breakdown, and can see it on the horizon, although a solid opening to the album, musically, it gives no indication to what lies ahead for the listener. This is followed by “Stay”, opening with a piano, bursts into a familiar indie/rock vibe, but maintains that spark that we were introduced to in “Breakdown”, although this is offset by the lyrics as X sings about what seems to be the end of a relationship as it ironically breakdowns. “The Great Escape” is where the strength of the album starts to emerge with the more heartfelt and melancholic sound, yet a growing force as the guitar kicks in.

While a pounding drum intro, and a gentle picking at the guitar strings comes “Something’s Gotta Give”, with almost a Deacon Blue feel to the vocals, as it crescendos up, just to drop back down to the drum led under-current of the track. As with the transition from “Beautiful Night” to “Lost”, the tempo is then almost discarded as we hit the intro to “We’ll Take This Town Together” with it’s soft beat, and almost heartbeat guitar work, and piano accompaniment.

Darktown Jubilee

The whole album through no obvious way stirs up the emotions, and after each subsequent play that feeling grows – from the initial putting it on in the background, it starts tugging at you demanding to be listened to. There is insight in this album, a knowledge, perhaps just an observation, but it is delivered and packaged exquisitely. “The World…” is, at the moment, an undiscovered gem. I hope this does not remain the case.

Line Up
David Boardman – Vocals + Guitars
John Cosgrove – Drums
Stuart Day – Bass
Gary O’Brien – Keyboards
Al Roberts – Guitars

The Great Escape
All I Want
Give Me A Sign
Stop! Look Around
When You’re Wrong
Beautiful Night
Something’s Gotta Give
We’ll take This Town Together


Words by Jon.

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