Jinder


Barely six months after the release of his eleventh album “The Silver Age”, Dorset artist Jinder and the world’s lives has been thrown into chaos with the Covid-19 pandemic. After the singer/songwriter contracted the virus and became seriously ill very quickly, it was obviously deeply unsettling for him. Jinder explains “I found myself staring my own mortality in the face, fighting for breath and wracked with such intense fever that I was unable to stand”. In times such as this, you prepare yourself for the worst. Even when I began to recover; at the time so little was known at the time about a long term prognosis, so I knew I had to act fast. “Nothing focuses the creative mind quite like coming face to face with death itself. I had no idea how much time I had to get the work done, so the only option was to work quickly and dig deep to make the album of a lifetime”.

The album is entitled “Almanac For The Failing Days” which is a ten-track affair and is released to the world on the 8th August. It took three months for the singer to recover entirely from his illness, and during that time he worked relentlessly under difficult circumstances to create his latest masterpiece. Working once again with producer and long-time collaborator Pete Millson, “Almanac…” was recorded remotely; in isolation, with Jinder and Millson playing all instruments other than drums, percussion and sundry Gallic asides which were all ably provided by creative foil Anton Henri.

When taking a retrospective look back at the many albums that have been created “Traditional Dark”, “Kingsize Blackfoot”, “Crumbs Of Comfort”, “Brother Flower”, “I’m Alive” and more recently “The Silver Age”, it’s difficult not to draw parallels between them all. They all, of course, have common ground, but each of them is also very individual in their own way. The new album can really be set apart from the others in the way it was created and for the unique time, it was created in. Everybody in the future will have their COVID lockdown stories to tell their loved ones and this is Jinder’s, neatly packaged into ten musical creations running at around 38 minutes.

Jinder

The album opens with the hum of conversation and Jinder gives advice to a panicking government by advising them to ‘Settle Down’. His significant voice is coupled with nicely bedded electronics, coupled with electric guitar and some subtle harmonization. “Peace Is Here” is a three-minute radio-friendly number featuring a backbone of percussion with melodic guitars, and a song that finds hope amongst the surrounding chaos. “God’s Hobby” draws a Venn diagram between religion and the ever-growing pandemic, finding utter theological and personal chaos between the two. “English Electric Lightning” is certainly one of the standout tracks of this collection; where Jinder uses all his expertise to bring us a musical delight full of creative highlights, with some wonderful slide guitar and piano combinations.

“Agony (Night Comes In)” and ‘Kamloops, BC’ are two numbers that were borne of intense hallucinatory fever dreams in the midst of Jinder’s battle with COVID-19. He explains “I was out of my mind with fever, and in a moment of sleep paralysis I dreamed that Philip Larkin was sitting on the edge of my bed…I saw him as clear as day. He leant over me, put his hand on my forehead and said “the day just serves to hide the stars, and the stars to decorate the darkness”. I woke up and wrote those words down immediately, which of course forms the basis of the chorus of the song “Agony”. It was a surreal and oddly beautiful experience, which we turned into a surreal and-hopefully-oddly beautiful song.

“Shawcross” sees the trusty acoustic style return that Jinder is well known for during his many live performances. Thankfully these continued frequently during the lockdown, where he broadcast many delightful live events from his own home. The song is the gruesome story of American serial killer Arthur John Shawcross, who after being sentenced to 25 years in prison was unbelievably released on parole with the authorities disregarding the warnings of psychiatrists. The song has a darkness and melancholy, matching its subject with a stunning vocal that delivers the line hard-hitting lyric “Killer is as Killer Does”.

Jinder

“Yer Life In Rain” is an incredibly personal song written when driving through Bournemouth in a torrential downpour during the lockdown. The place was deserted and looked like a missing verse from Morrissey’s “Every Day Is Like Sunday”. Jinder lived in Bournemouth for fourteen years but moved West some years ago. He explains “in the first verse it mentions Whitley Court, which is a former apartment block (now a hotel) in Westcliff. A long time ago I lived in the penthouse apartment of the building, a beautiful place with panoramic sea views which I rented with my advance from a record deal I had at the time with Sony BMG. Major label life was incredibly stressful and high-pressure and at the time I was juggling a huge amount of difficulties, both personal and professional. In late 2008 at the peak of the “credit crunch” financial crisis, Sony abruptly dropped me from their roster with no warning. In many ways it was a relief, but it left me with no income, no work and no security whatsoever. I had a month left on my tenancy at Whitley Court, but rather than using that time to get my affairs in order I holed myself up in my apartment with enough alcohol to see “Columbus” men through a voyage to The New World” and had a full-scale mental breakdown. Life was totally chaotic, and the chaos continued for years afterwards. The song is rooted in the strange and oddly liberating experience of stopping by the place where all of that stuff began, where life began to unravel and ponder the intervening years. I’ve now been sober for close to three years and have never been more mentally healthy, so it’s especially strange to see the past under glass in that way”.

“Canada’s Band” is a true story (as are all the songs on “Almanac…”) about a married couple whose relationship was somehow bonded by the Canadian band ‘The Tragically Hip’ and when the band’s singer Gord Downie died of a brain cancer in 2017 the band disbanded. The Couple found that without tours to traipse around after and records to look forward to, perhaps they didn’t have enough in common to make their marriage work. Jinder sings the tune with a lyrically beautiful story put to words and perfect orchestration.

The final tune of this collection “Trust, Josephine” returns to Russian history, as was the case for a couple of tracks on the last album “The Silver Age”. Jinder has an almost anorak-ish obsession with the subject and this song is a character portrait of Oleg Sokolov, an eminent Russian historian with a specialism in the Napoleonic war. Jinder explains “his whole story was far too bizarre to not turn into a song, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to take the Zevonesque approach of wrapping up a grim lyrical narrative in something musically beautiful”. The full detailed story is I’m sure just waiting to be told at one of his many gigs in the future.

So there you have it; a unique album that was delivered under difficult and challenging circumstances as always, with Jinder and constant side-kick Pete Millson delivering in all areas. The album is full of little details, subtexts and references for the lyrical trainspotters to dissect and debate over. It’s a piece of work that cannot just be listened to casually, it has a huge amount of depth lyrically and musically with plenty of real stories that will engage and educate. A history lesson for your ears…….

“Almanac For The Failing Days” is released on 7th August 2020 on the Din Of Ecstasy label.

Track Listing
Settle Down
Peace Is Here
God’s Hobby
English Electric Lightning
Agony (Night Comes In)
Kamloops, BC
Shawcross
Yer Life In Rain
Canada’s Band
Trust, Josephine

Links
http://www.jinder.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/JinderSongs

Words by David Chinery (Chinners).

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