The last album from Jake & The Jellyfish, 2013’s Credit Cards & Overdrafts, was in one word; brilliant. With a debut that strong it’s hard to see how a band could progress more. However, after what I assume is a lot of hard work, Jake & The Jellyfish have gone next level. Dead Weight is a finely tuned album giving the band an even more massive sound while still maintaining their charm, with the lyrics and slight punk style keeping the band down to earth and relatable.
With songs such as “DIY”, “Coffee Tally” and “Tour Talk“, it’s clear that a few years on the DIY punk scene has had a profound effect on the band’s songwriting by bringing in some personal experiences, giving toasts to fellow bands and across the album summing up exactly how life is when you are forced to mix your passions and alternative lifestyle with real life; surviving in modern Britain.
On top of the engaging lyrics the album is full of great instrumentation, including guest musicians such as Will Tun and the Wasters’ accordion player Josef Dobraszczyk on many tracks, best heard towards the end of the storming track “Real Life“. No doubt the highlight track, “Coffee Tally” brings in Robin Leitch from Random Hand on trombone to give his signature punch-in-the-face brass line to create an absolute destroyer of a track. The greatest example of fine musicianship on the album can be heard on “Don’t Follow The Leader”, with a tint of gypsy-ska, the fiddle takes the lead on this raucous tune complete with a slow-tempo breakdown with an increasingly fast build up which really shows how well the band can take advantage of each member’s instrument.
The band maintain their signature sound of mixing folk, punk and ska into one consistent sound, but manage to develop and expand this sound on the album. Punk ethos is very much kept throughout, but with a few great sing-along choruses thrown in, while underneath the scope of folk-instrumentation the band aren’t afraid to still show parts of their reggae and ska influences.
With the growing success of acoustic punk and its continued survival in the DIY scene, Jake & The Jellyfish deserve to be seen as one of the current greats. The album has both moments perfect for solo headphone music to comfort you while maintaining other moments full of festival anthem potential. The band have produced a solid sophomore album, tightly tied to their roots while still managing a more expansive sound that could appeal to a wider audience.