Before You Were Born
The single, Before You Were Born is available from:
To investigate Jingo’s previous songs, visit:
From a band whom are still criminally under-investigated arrives another track that lodges in the mind. If you are unfamiliar with the prolific and stunning four-piece, endeavour to rectify this.
IT was only a couple of days ago, I was expounding the virtues of a select group…
of new musicians. After publishing my 200th blog post (hold your applause), I looked back at what I had written; surveyed the acts I had included, and something struck my mind: there were so many whom are still being overlooked. I guess ‘overlooked’ may be harsh terminology, yet too many of the artists I paid tribute too are deserving of a much larger support base. Solo acts such as Jen Armstrong deserve a record label to help support her itinerant and ambitious future; Chess, Elena Ramona and Second Hand Poet are diverse and brilliant young artists. Bands such as Universal Thee have a great and loyal following in Scotland, yet it seems that getting their name beyond the border is proving quite tough- or is a slow process at best. At the moment, I am speaking with the band’s manager; trying to organise an event that showcases two Scottish bands (every few months) alongside two southern/London-based acts- and my featured artists are top of the list (to represent the south). The likes of Crystal Seagulls and Los & The Deadlines are on my radar too, as I feel that here are two examples of groups whom are worthy of huge fandom- yet seem to be working the media like a rodeo clown, in order to be seen. As well as (each act) being phenomenal musicians and diverse musicians, they are down-to-earth and everyman; they come across as hugely likeable and impressive: so why is it taking so long to get them their due rewards? It seems that due diligence is good enough (when it comes to media attention), and when it comes to promoting certain acts and artists, not enough is being done. I shall tie my point more directly when I arrive at assessing Jingo, but my point raises wider concerns. Acts such as Universal Thee are perfect examples that show that there is too much compartmentalization; not enough being done to spread the good word- beyond their native climbs. In terms of self-promotion, the artists are doing all they can; through Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud, BandCamp (and countless other sites) music is published; updates given- and a whole host of information is put on their for the waiting public. I have touched upon (or molested) this subject before, but it is something that erks and annoys me; it has got to be easier to make the general public aware of great bands. I am aware that there are thousands of bands playing around the world; hundreds of great bands pioneering within the U.K.- yet social media is a powerful tool. Whilst the associated acts are making sure they do their utmost, there are plenty of sites dedicated to new music, whom are letting them fall through the cracks. Over the past two years, I have had the honour of featuring some splendiferous talent; bands and solo artists I believe are going to be on the precipice of a new movement; a wave of an eager musicians whom will take the mainstream by storm- and overthrown the more staid and bland elements we are witness to. Before I hop to my next ‘big point’, I will conclude by saying that more needs to be done. I guess it is a Herculean task to give appropriate attention to ALL the best acts (around), but it is not difficult to give them a helping hand at least. When I was reviewing Ruby Macintosh recently (a bold and bright young talent from Yorkshire), I was wondering why few others had latched onto her charms. She is a gorgeous and striking musician, and has had a hard enough last few years; it should be a given that the media in general make her job a lot easier. I suppose it highlights a wider malaise and pandemic; one that is going to see the death of some of music’s best new acts. My featured subjects should have no fear, but I am still perplexed, mind. My second point regards bands in general; and their components and configuration. A lot of acts tend to be either all-male or all-female; take their players from one country or nation- few contain ethnic diversity or bi-gender membership. It may seem like a minor note or moot point, but I feel that some of the best and more daring music has come from acts where there is a greater diversity. Universal Thee are a band with male and female vocal elements; Los and the Deadlines source their players from several different nations; Issimo (a duo from Yorkshire) have boy-girl by-play- and there are others, too. It is not a coincidence that the acts I have mentioned are amongst the best the U.K. has on offer. With powerful and soulful vocal input (from the females of the acts); endeavouring and myriad sonic swathes from the rest of the band; it leads to a rich and fascinating palette. I guess there is resistance and hesitation mixing men and women in bands; some think that there may be arguments, a weaker bond or danger of capitulation- this is narrow-minded and foolish. Stronger community and creativity comes when you break away from homogenized and rigid formations. You are not going to turn into Fleetwood Mac or Pixies; your band will not implode or squabble when you put men and women together (they are aberrations and anomalies). I, for one, would love to see more daring and adventurousness when it comes to bands; my featured band are a great example of a group whom not only mix genders- but nationalities too, to great effect. I suppose that it is going to be hard to make positive and evolutionary changes in music; to rectify imbalance- and ensure that equality and fairness are bolder synonyms. I will go into this more in my conclusion, but I suppose I better get down to investigating my featured act. With U.S./U.K. commingle; potent and nuanced sounds, and huge potential, they are a group whom will be big names to watch.
Jingo is a group I have surveyed a few times before. Over the past year they have released a succession of singles; each different and displaying bold and diverse colours. When I featured the act in my last post, I proclaimed that these guys are going to be big names to watch; they will be on the tips of everyone’s tongues in nary a few months. Their name may be a bit Google-proof, and you may not be familiar with them at the moment, but I would urge you to investigated all of their past work. My first encounter with the four-piece was when I investigated their track, 1Q84. When I completed my reconnaissance of the song, I was moved to write; “…the song is tight, focused and well rehearsed, and I am sure will become a live favourite. The combination of a sing along and memorable chorus, sharp and ubiquitous lyrics and an enthralling and battling percussion and electric guitar support that sets this song above many put forth by their peers. The shifting and unpredictable changes in tone and mood keep the track fascinating and unique, and is something many other groups would not think to do. The entire effect is contagious and commendable, and for a first song for a new band , it is quite an achievement“. There was oriental flavours to be heard; elements of Arctic Monkeys; hints of Bird Courage- and a whole treasure chest of percussive wallop. When investigating the vocal turn from Katie Buckett, I assessed that “Our heroine implores to her paramour to not leave her and to take her with him. One can draw comparisons with female contemporaries such as P!nk, The Pretty Reckless and Adele, but she there is a credibility and intelligence that the first two do not posses“. I came away from listening to the track, filled with admiration; completely in awe- and sure that I had discovered one of the best bands on the scene. Before I go into more detail, let me give you some band biography:
Katie Buckett – vocals/keys Jack Buckett – guitars/ backing vocals Joseph Reeves – drums Sahil Batra – bass/keys/backing vocals
“Jingo is a dynamic and curious four-piece affair. They are, consequently, Jack Buckett, his U.S. wife, Katie, Joseph Reeves and latest addition, Sahil Batra, discovered from their own warehouse Open Mic Night. The four have been making music with other bands in Brooklyn, New York and London for a fair few years but have now embarked upon a shared venture and have a loyal and devout group of co-patriots in the UK and US. Supporting Graham Coxon of Blur as their first gig in March 2013, they were out of the blocks and running. Since then they have been keeping busy in the studio whilst touring across the country relieving widespread attention from online bloggers (including a feature in FHM) In November they won the Made in Shoreditch Music Factory competition and 2 days recording at the legendary Strongroom studios. Jingo is a unique genetic composite, and one that has not been seen too often on the music scene. We had a similar nationality cross-breeding with Fleetwood Mac, The Magic Numbers, and a few other acts, but they are few and far between. They are set to release their debut album in summer 2014”.
At present, the quartet have just over 1,000 ‘Likes’ on Facebook; they have 229 (at time of review) ‘Followers’ on Twitter– this seems ridiculous. With such a sparse and meagre backing, I am always shocked. Their fans are dedicated and loyal (and I am sure the group adore all of them), yet I have seen weaker and less impressive bands with gigantic numbers of fans and supporters. Anyway, I digress; as I was telling you about the group’s previous tracks. After 1Q84, I reviewed Same Without You and The Matador (in April, 2013). With regards to the former, its lyrics struck a chord with me “… scenes and scores of the ’50s and ’60s; all smoky siren and street-lit avenues: “What if I called your bluff…” and “Please don’t lie to me”, are early cuts, and paint the picture of a woman who has either been wronged and is seeking validation, or is in search of honest. Before you have a chance to let your thought wander to the alleys of a U.S. city, where there is black and white sensuality and a variegated tension, there is a sonic kick that takes decisions out of your hands, and controls your hands and thoughts. The piano skips and bounces, as an echoed reverb lingers and vibrates, as the percussion waits, watches and kicks when needed“. The vocal line that was presented was intoxicating and there were elements of U.S. stars such as Billie Holiday, Joan Wasser and Madeleine Peyroux. When summing up the song, I surmised: “I smelt a flavour of Steely Dan in there as well circa-‘Can’t Buy a Thrill’. It is a most unexpected sonic diversion, and again adds a layer of U.S. influence to the melting pot. Bits of Santana, Slash and Clapton are heard in the D.N.A. as the sound of piano comes in. Instead of being romantic a hand is run across the keys with verve, as a ghostly and unstoppable snowball hurtles towards the village“. My most recent exposure the quartet was The Matador, and another rampant and stunning song. The vocal contained “a little bit of the likes of P.J. Harvey, (the rougher edges of) Tori Amos; as well as a distinct flavour of the U.S. There is, perhaps, a restrained air of Adele, too; sounding at times quite similar at times“; the guitar “(i)s swooning and romantic. It has a little bit of a build; as if it were going to peak and punch, but instead, comes back down“; the track, as a result lead me to state that it stood out, “in ways that are fresh and new“. Today I review the band for a fourth (and by no means final) time. It is a song that differs from their past work, yet keeps all the elementary and distinct cores in place. I shall add my plaudits and patronage to the band very shortly; but here is what other critics/reviewers have said about Jingo:
“Angsty, melodic brilliance. They’re a no-nonsense act that fill the void left by the wimpy, foppish haired indie acts of late.”
“Jingo have the potential, to re-invent the wheel.”
LOUDER THAN WAR
“(Belong to You) just screams festival anthem, but you don’t have to be drunk in a field to love it“
INDEPENDENT MUSIC NEWS
“Listening to London’s Jingo is a bit like listening to a rockier Portishead with Beth Gibbons being force-fed steroids.”
“Next Big Thing“
BEATNIK GEEK RECORDS
“earth-shattering, seismic vocals and music to match.”
THE SOUND OF CONFUSION
“the feistiness of the vocalist Katie that reminded me of those awesome gals like Alison Mosshart and Leila from Duke Spirit.” “A Large Dramatic sound“
7 BIT ARCADE
“If there is a finer natural vocalist in British rock right now it is hard to bring them to mind.” “impress beyond hopes and without warning.”
“this brooding and heartbroken tune that’s full to the brim with emotion oozing from every pore.”
THE SOUND OF CONFUSION
HEAR THIS! PROMOTIONS
“They have variety, a sense of innovation and style that is very rare these days“
“a talented mix of the best East London and Brooklyn has to offer.” “their music is quite exceptional.”
“the resonating, smouldering vocals courtesy of Katie, the eerie and the elegant yet fierce classical tones to the bass and guitar lines“
THE MUSIC DUNGEON
“Overall the songs share a lush full sound with plenty of variety, and musicality. “-“Kate Bucket, has a lovely voice that has a great masculine power without losing the feminine grace (Annie Lennox rather than Grace Jones, Aretha not Nina)”
You have seen what others think of the group; how their music has affected them (and me as well); so it was unsurprising that I sat down to listen to Before You Were Born, with a huge amount of optimism and excitement.
Previous numbers have shown a glimmer of Jingo’s romantic and tender side. The initial seconds of Before You Were Born are a refined yet emotive piano coda; one that has elements of Same Without You’s intro., but the piano notes are not as heavy and dark. An initial wordless vocal (by our heroine) is then joined by a punchy and upbeat percussive line; one which patters and playfully intones. Plinking and sharp (but subtle) guitar flicks join the mood, and it is a combination which puts you in a better mood; implores you to nod your head- in time to the swaying and hypnotic sonics. The track’s first line are beautifully deployed. Our heroine elongates and pauses; elongates and changes pace- giving the lyrics a more potent weight, and making sure they stick in your head. Whilst speaking of: “Coinci~denssse for~est of your life~bow and arrow~tate like a circ~ollect all of us~ave the planet while you still can“, the backing is kept light and sparse; electric sparks provide some light and colour; the bass and percussion tenderly support- as well as ripple and patter. Between the first two verses (or parables), wordless vocalisation returns once more; with some uplifting hand-claps and evocative guitar, the song starts to grow. At the 1:00 mark, the sound becomes fuller and more energised. Guitars become more gravitational and spiralling; imbued with a greater weight and volume, they do not change their pattern, instead augment and emphasise the overall sound. With her voice- once more- stretching and crawling; striking and punctuating, our heroine takes focus (once more). There is a tenderness and power in Buckett’s voice; a yearning and striking facet that adds emotion and memorability to the lines: “Improvisat~show me your intentions~lowle~ventually I’ve got you pinned like a doll-der and wis~er~ly before you were born“. It is hard to compare the track with another- as well as the band themselves- as there is such a unique charm within Before You Were Born. Between the lines, audio weaves are presented; filled with lilting beauty and calming meditation. Now our hero comes to the mic.; the atmosphere rises and there is a sense of urgency in his voice. Repeating the song’s title, elements of Elbow come to the fore. Like Garvey, Buckett’s voice is full of life and power; a combination of passion and kick that stands you to attention. Whereas our heroine’s voice is lighter and more mesmeric, our hero’s is emphatic and electioneering. Shifting vocal duties (again), our heroine returns to the fore. Whereas before, her vocal was darker and slowed-down, here is sweet (perhaps fairy-like might be more apt) and faster; the song takes another turn and expectations are subverted. Being familiar with Jingo, I am aware that they can mix obtuse and oblique lyrics with directness. In the lines “I knew you before you were born/Riding a bright light before you arrived” there is a mix of both; but perhaps with more of a leaning towards the former. Whether speaking of a spiritual rebirth or near-death conjecture, I am unsure, yet the images that form in your head are stirring and vivid. There is a delirious beauty and otherworldliness to the vocal delivery; a line is presented- there is a pause- before the next is sung- giving it is a weightlessness and dreaminess. When our heroine states: “I know you’re good, I know your evil/Like a snake eating its own tail” you cannot help but picture some evocative images; but also speculate as to the meaning of the lines. It appears that maybe a friend is being spoken to; someone whom maybe has gone down a bad path and is in need of redemption and guidance. Such is the nature of the song (and its words) that a sense of ambiguity arises; each listener may think or imagining different things- giving the track itself an additional majesty. Our heroine’s voice once more prolongates and holds; lengthening lyrics (“Before you were born/Tale/Before you were born“) to ensure that they are not easily forgotten. A brief shimmering and riparian sonic segment adds some punctuation; allowing some (temporary) reflection- and allowing your mind to drift a little. Before you can settle and float, a vocal rush comes sternly into view. It is at this stage (perhaps I am just a bit dim), that the full meaning and potency of the lyrics makes itself known. There is a sense of malevolence and funereal beckoning; our vocal pair combine magnificently. With events becoming rawer and more overwrought, the vocals likewise reflect this mood. Instead of speed and rapid-fire delivery, there is still an emphasis on considered delineation and crepuscular stalk. Our husband-and-wife duo are drawing in and sharpening the cut of the their tongues. When they conjoin and announce: “I’ve got you pinned like a doll/Meet your maker/I’ve got you pinned like a doll/Meet your maker” you feel, perhaps, that events will not work out for the better-that a tragic end may be in sight. Whether the band are looking inwardly; dealing with spiritual and personal demons and exorcise them; or else looking at a target and their ill-fated plight, I am not too sure- you are kept guessing and interpreting throughout. To my mind, Jingo’s 9th studio track is one that has double-meaning; a sense of cryptic inscrutability are evident within- perhaps only they know the real truth. After the haunting have been offered, there is a woozy and skipping outro; one at first plays thunderstorm percussion alongside elliptical and galloping keys. Before any additional transformation or shift, our pair have not done with us yet. Re-injecting “I’ve got you pinned like a doll/Meet your maker“; the lines have a weightier meaning- given the sonic rush that proceeds them. The background is emphasised and becomes more powerful; our hero adds some relative composure and restraint (when singing “Before you were born“). Once again, the song’s title is repeated mantra-like, and the snake’s tail turns once more- events are less spiky and foreboding. The final 40 seconds are reserved for an heady and conclusory outro; one which brings things down to Earth, but also is an effectively stirring piece in its own right. When the track ends, you are left to weigh things up and reflect on what has come. It is something that is instantly recognisable as a Jingo track (in terms of quality and spirit), yet differs from their previous eight numbers. Various members of the band have their own personal favourites. Katie said (when speaking to Holdupnow.com): “When You Want Me”, is my favourite to date and exemplifies our growing ability to jam a song into being“. Jack offers the opinion that “For me, out of the 6 songs currently online it would have to be either 1Q84 or Jaclyn Having said that, it’s hard to pick only one or two as we tend to vary the style of our songs a lot“. A few months have passed (since that interview) and I am sure that opinions may have changed. To me, the song is one of the strongest the band has created, and hints at what they could produce in the future. In the aforementioned interview, Jack went on to clear define what was great about being in the band: “Probably the openness and impartiality we have during the creation process. We’re all willing to take on any suggestion another member may have and give it a go. Of course we have a method and some people have certain roles but there are no limits, no rules and no guidelines we have to follow“. This sense of democracy and lack of parliamentary procedure, means Jingo’s songs sound care-free and effortless. Of course, a lot of work goes into them, but Before You Were Born has a charm, weight and sense of wonder that is a result of the band’s work methods. It is a song that signals a golden future, and one that I have been playing for hours now. It gets into your headl under your skin, and in your mind- and makes you smile in the process.
It has been over a year since I have featured Jingo on these pages- and they have not missed a step. I know that there are album plans afoot; speculation suggests that something could arrive in the summer, and on the evidence of Before You Were Born, it will be a stunning collection. The past three tracks I have reviewed (from the band) have all been very different and unique; they have projected their own identity and sound- yet they are emphatically Jingo tracks. Before You Were Born is another colour in the band’s rainbow; another side of the group that shows their stunning knack for putting a song in your head. The lyrics are, as you would expect, memorable and intelligent; the vocal performance is stunning, emotional and impassioned. For all my logorrhea, the band are fully deserving of positive feedback and celebration. They are a hard-working and prolific group whom adore music and all it offers- and want to add their names to the list of greats. When they spoke to Independent Music News, the band hinted at future plans: “I think that we’ll continue releasing songs we have, three singles at a time, until we have an album’s worth of material and then release the last three songs with the album“. In interviews, the band come across as witty, and friendly; eager to engage in banter and seduce. I have never witnessed Jingo live, but it is something I will strive to do, as they prepare their next moves. On SoundCloud– as well as their official site- you can hear every track they have produced; hear the range and intentions on offer. I started this review by raising two (distinct) subjects: how underrated some acts are; as well as how diversity can enhance a group. Jingo are amongst a number of artists whom are worthy of much greater acclaim and speculation. Their official website is vibrant, full-bodied and informative. It is incredibly well-designed and eye-catching, and all information anyone can want is in there. For someone like me, it is an invaluable resource, and allows me to keep up-to-date with all the band’s happenings. Their social media portfolio is well-rounded and all-encompassing, and the quartet are no strangers to a memorable photo shoot. With every image of our gorgeous heroine and her three handsome cohorts, you smile and love the band even more; they are the embodiment of a happy-go-lucky and universal act. If popularity and public representation is mandated by the quality of your sounds, then the variegated and nuanced cuts (the band offer) should see their stock rise considerably. I am going to do my best to make sure that reviewers and new music websites are informed and educated; they take Jingo on board and review their music. The band have a clear affecting for one another, and the bond between Katie and Jack is (perhaps obvious) stunning. Katie’s hugely powerful and mesmeric pipes blend beautifully with Jack’s; an all-male vocal set-up would not do full justice to the group’s songs. Adding feminine tones (in with masculine) not only adds beauty and tenderness, but gives the songs a richness and wider sound; a charm that would have otherwise been lacking. Because Katie is American, I am sure that the group have U.S. ambitions; our heroine is aware of the scene over there and I would not be surprised if the band were to find hosts of fans waiting (in the U.S.). Influences such as Bad for Lazarus and Bird Courage come through in some of their numbers, yet it is the originality the band offer, that is most memorable. When the band was interviewed by Holdupnow.com, they were asked what was the best thing about being in Jingo. Jack stated: “Probably the openness and impartiality we have during the creation process. We’re all willing to take on any suggestion another member may have and give it a go. Of course we have a method and some people have certain roles but there are no limits, no rules and no guidelines we have to follow. We also have a mutual thirst for keeping new material rolling out which keeps it fresh and exciting“. The group was asked about their hopes for the future; what was most vital for them. Katie explained that “The most important thing for me and I think for everyone is to make the best music we can possibly make“. The band’s uniqueness, assimilation and bravery marks them out as huge future stars. I have heard all of the songs they have offered up (so far), and their sound can be extrapolated and taken to huge arenas; but also has a tenderness and intimacy that means smaller crowds would flock to see them. The rest of this year will see our quartet embark on new ambitions and releases, and I cannot wait to hear what is coming next. There is a wealth of music out there, and when discovering new music (and paramours), it can be a tough endeavour- separating the best from the bunch. Our U.K./U.S. cohorts are one of the most innovative and dedicated groups out there; not beholden to stick with one path or course, their multitudinous sounds are capable of overwhelming and inveigelling. I would suggest that you investigate Before You Were Born thoroughly; but also go back and seek out their past glories. As 2014 ticks on, and eyes look to the horizon- waiting for terrific music to arrive- then you should keep a close on Jingo. Few new musicians are deserving of making it long-term; of making their way into the larger public consciousness, but when it comes to our wonderful four-piece…
NO ONE deserves it more.
Fri 09 May, 2014
Jingo in Newport, Wales
The Patriot Inn
Main Street, Crumlin, Gwent NP11 4PT
Sat 10 May, 2014
Jingo in Ilfracombe, Devon
The Chill Bar
Fore Street EX34 9DJ