“Promises and Vows” is the debut release from Chester based band JakLash Cat.
The melancholic guitar trio named after the membership of Phil “Lash” Blundell, John “Jak” Evans and Steve “Cat” Pyne can be seen regularly busking in the city , and have also made recent Friday night appearances in the market.
The CD offers 14 original songs of lost love, regret , yearning and shimmering sadness.
“Twilight time is my time of the day” sings lead vocalist Phil Blundell on “In dreams of you” a phrase which sums up the mood and resigned tone of the album.
I always say that the sad songs are the best and this release is no exception.
Most of the songs are haunted by of a love gone wrong, ended, but still burning like a zombie stumbling through the rain lashed cobbled streets.
Highlight, “addicted to you” takes the well worn cliché of love as drug addiction, “gypsy curse, witches spell” and turns it into something beautifully world weary and comforting via aching vocals and gentle strum of the guitars. Also impressive is the rhyme of “contraband” and “promised land” also used to describe the object of the singers affections. The drug references continues in “I think of you” where the singer is numbed by unspecified pills yet still can’t escape love’s shadow.
A few of the songs offer alternative themes, yet maintain the sad ambiance with “The Daughter” offered unconditional support, and instrumental “Window Shopping” written by lead guitarist Steve Pyne a pleasant jangling ode to a world before all the shops closed down.
A couple of American themed travel songs also lift the gloom, with “California” seeing the singer leaving the world behind for the bright city lights.
Album closer “JakLash Boogie” also offers a flash of optimism and some hope of moving on.
Sad songs say so much, and this collection of anguished melodic beauty is a soothing and comforting palliative to heartbreak despite the frequently sad subject matter.
Sensitively performed, the real emotion behind the songs shines through.
I’ll be listening as the sun goes down.
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