A new outfit from Sussex, Noble Jacks are a four piece comprising lead singer Will Page on mandolin,fiddle, mandola and acoustic guitar, Matt Deveson on bass, Ant Longhurst on guitars and Joe Walker providing the drums. As fiddle sawing opening track, 'Gun Hill', tells you, they're a rumbustious bunch, calling to mind comparisons to the likes of Merry Hell, The Levellers and Police Dog Hogan. That same energy explodes out of Ramblers Steam, the shantyish 'Better Man', 'Reason To Stay' and , as the title might suggest, 'The Blacksmith Stomp'. It's not all quite such a heads down breathless charge, 'Running Man' and 'Garden Duel' are slightly more midtempo numbers, the former driven by fiddle, the latter by mandolin, though the closing mandolin jog 'Waterline' is probably the closest they get to a ballad here.
Recorded in The Levellers studio, they also share a socio-political sensibility, evidenced, for example on, 'The Land That Lies Below' and 'Another Day Gone' , though, to these ears, the stand out number has to be 'Enjoy The Ride' on which they're joined by The Worry Dolls, mainly because they bring extra colours to what, overall, tends to work pretty much on the one level.
As yet they haven't really set themselves apart from the obvious reference points and, while 'The Blacksmith Stomp' may be a live favourite, there isn't that important killer song. However, these are early days and, having got the opening salvo out of the way, it'll be interesting to see how they broaden the musical horizons from hereonin.
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