John Jenkins, Sweet Delphine. Single Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

No matter how lonely you feel in life, cut off from the day to day and the sensation of being a wreck in your harbour, it arguably cannot compare to the feeling of thoughtful resentment felt by the knights of the sea, the sailors and their muses that keep them sane when the ocean tries to break their spirits. It is a feeling that is perfectly captured by John Jenkins and his debut single, Sweet Delphine.

The song of the sea, the maritime long excursion and the reality of finding someone only to witness them being stolen from you is an age old one, one that goes back even further than the isolation keenly sought by Homer’s Iliad and the crushing realisation that you don’t have to be at sea in which to feel adrift when the person you love goes off with the ego you have sat at the table and broken bread with.

It is that feeling of sorrow, of anguish and of initial hope that is swelled by the sheer seascape that John Jenkins conveys through each deliciously unencumbered line and guided by a characteristic set of admired musicians. Accompanied by Jon Lawton on guitar, bass and drum, the mournful beauty of Amy Chalmers’ violin and the sensational Helen Maher on accordion, John Jenkins really pushes the boat out with this debut single and it only raises the bar for his album due out soon.

If ever a song felt like a painting, a singular one off prized beauty found to have been put on canvas by Turner, then Sweet Delphine is that track, it is the temptation of hearing a Siren in the darkness but instead of being lured to dangerous waters and impending doom, the musician takes over and offers a compass in which to be guided by. Sweet Delphine is that instrument in which to take hold of and not let go of for dear life.

The tale of a man lost at sea and on dry land, Sweet Delphine is magical and brutal, a merging of souls and an utter delight.

  • Ian D. Hall