I’m listening to Jake Aaron’s debut EP, trying to think of words that might do his beautiful songs justice. Five haunting tracks, each one a heartfelt intimate tale, observational, with a tender raw sound, haunting and stark, rich and brittle.
On the song 1790 Aaron’s voice purrs over an intricately part-strummed, part-picked, classical guitar. “It’s not the way you smile or hold my hand, What you say to me when there’s no one else around. It was in French though it was not too profound, Dying on the lawn in the leaves in 1790.” Is he praising a current love, lamenting a lost love, or is this completely fictitious? Who knows, and the song is in no hurry to tell you, floating away before you’re ready for it to finish, like an inviting gentle river meandering away to the horizon.
Jake’s songs observe the world around him with the cynical eye of an outsider; like someone playing in the corner of a party, seemingly uninterested in the gathering around them but all the while absorbing the sounds and sights of human condition abound. These are songs from the city, sometimes hinting at the violence and the menace of city life. On Dalston Kingsland he observes street life aggression, and the classic male threat of destruction, the age-old promise that, “This place would sky high if I gave the sign.”
The EP signs off with the most upbeat track, Constitution Blues, and a call to action, “I started to dig, I was digging all night.” Listening to this line repeating over and over as the EP fades away, I feel like Aaron is challenging the listener, saying, “This is what I’ve done, what about you?”
This is a confident and unapologetic debut, and the deceptively simple songs have strong hooks that quickly get under your skin, and soon feel like they’ve always been there.
Download Jake Aaron’s EP at jakeaaron.com/music