A few weeks ago I reviewed a collaborative project released under the banner of ‘John Jenkins and That Sure Thing’ and now the aforementioned Mr Jenkins is back with some new solo material.
The Liverpool based singer-songwriter is currently preparing for the release of his debut album Trains later on this year but as a little taster of what to expect he has released a brand new EP called Her Soldier Boy.
The EP consists of the title track which is also the first to be taken from the upcoming album as well as three other new non-album tracks.
The record gets underway with the title track and the smooth and winding tale of a girl watching ‘her soldier boy’ go off to war before returning wounded but a hero, with his and the overriding message of the song being “Love me for who I am.” The has a really smooth skip to it, which only drops back for the slow and actually quite emotive guitar solo. The additions of the violin and the accordion give the song extra weight and ramp up the emotion just a little further. Clocking in at 6 and a half minutes it’s a song that you really have to slide into but that’s easily done and the results are incredibly rewarding.
Playing With Fire is a slower and more stripped back affair, as only the vocal from Jenkins and an acoustic guitar fill the air. The song details the perils of ‘playing with fire’ which is in the case finds our narrator caught being unfaithful to his wife who then leaves him. The slow and sparse guitar solo along with the song’s stripped back style help give the lyrics and the songs message more impact. It’s almost as if as the listener you’re going through the same realisations as voice in the song. That feeling of being pulled into the song can only serve as testament to the song writing which as always of a high standard.
Penultimate track I Miss You does exactly as it says on the tin, serving as a message back to a loved one from life on the road. I have always been impressed with how Jenkins doesn’t try to be overly flashy vocally; he has his own very distinctive soft and almost whispered style and uses it to great effect to put more emphasis on his song writing. That is not only evident on this song but on the project as a whole.
The EP winds to a close with What It All Means. Overall the EP has quite a melancholic feel I think, but I like that it closes on a song with a slightly sunnier disposition. I can’t exactly explain why but you just get the feeling that everything is going to be alright. The song feels more melody driven than its predecessors and I like that; it helps the song really stand out.
Overall you can’t deny that Her Soldier Boy is another very solid piece of work. There maybe isn’t that one track which really instantly grabs you but each of the four songs is well written and put together and contributes to what is a very good listen. It bodes well for the album that its lead track is probably the standout moment although I Miss You does run it close.
I always seem to say this about Jenkins work and I do mean it as a compliment but if you are a fan of old fashioned quality song writing sung through a smooth easy going vocal then this EP will be right up your street.
You can get your hands on a copy of Her Soldier Boy here: http://www.johnjenkinsmusic.com/