Jape – This Chemical Sea (Universal Ireland)
26 January 2015
Irish alternative pop band, Jape, release their fifth album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reviews.
Opening with Séance Of Light, a cross between the Lightning Seeds and Faithless with hints of Erasure and New Order, there is a sense of sure-fire success just around the corner for this Irish band. Fronted by Richie Egan in 2003, Jape bring a fresh and entirely enjoyable sound with many an unforgettable hook. The track is bouncy and squidgy and nothing short of 100% enjoyable.
Second track and previous single, The Hearts Desire, has vocals wedged somewhere between Ian Broudie and Hot Chip, and maybe sounding how the latter wish they did if they weren’t a little bit boring. It should come as no surprise that husband and wife duo Peaking Lights are also fans of the band as there are similarities in their clean, wholesome sounds. In fact the duo remixed the last single and were happy to wholeheartedly spread the news via all streams of social media.
So aren’t Jape just another poppy band inflicting their infectious beats on the general public? Well, the last comment is certainly true. Their melodies will just simply not escape your grey matter, each one is instantly compelling and worthy of being given copious amounts of radio airplay. Take third track, Absolutely Animals, which is probably a veiled story (although the collective feel of the song supersedes any individual praise) a song so catchy that it will become the day’s earworm. Even the most static of dancers will feel the need to get up and wiggle an appendage.
There are harks back to classic 90s tunes with Metamorphosis, but given a modern day twist it becomes entirely relevant. Their synth sound is clinical but not overly so and there are maybe hints of musical influence from the likes of Vince Clarke and Daniel Miller. Tracks are simple, but not barren; full, but not overly complicated.
Breath Of Life momentarily sounds like the intro to Mind Of A Toy (Visage) before its semi-moonstomp drumbeat controls the track with some sumptuous echoes and possessive bass line. Richie’s vocals are soft, gentle and completely entertaining. Love On The Crest Of A Wave is yet another track worthy of a single release.
Featuring Conor O’Brien of Villagers, Ribbon Ribbon Ribbon begins with a house-like beat and provides the perfect prequel to the album closer, title track This Chemical Sea. The finale is a low-key, forgiving end to a truly special album. With a few oriental sounding notes it glides effortlessly and beautifully to a calming end.
This Chemical Sea is an album not only for lovers of alternative pop, but for connoisseurs of very special music.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog and you can follow him on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.You can also follow him on Twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news.