Review: Jack Foley
I FIRST heard of Jack Johnson while listening to the latest Handsome
Boy Modeling School album, White
People, which features his sublime track, Breakdown.
In fact, the talented singer-songwriter has been around for some
five years, having started out as a filmmaker, as well as shooting
and scoring his 16mm surf films.
In Between Dreams marks his third album and is described
as his most musically upbeat yet, no doubt inspired by the delight
of becoming a father.
He describes the songs on the album as both 'romantic and nostalgic',
and reflect many of his happier life experiences.
The delightfully laidback opening track, Better Together,
for instance, is described as a love song Johnson penned for his
wife, Kim, because no matter how hard or deceptive life can be,
'it's always better when we're together'.
No Other Way is another acoustically driven gem, a lazy
but beautifully constructed effort that features some wonderfully
whimsical lyrics and a genuinely relaxing vibe.
Sitting, Waiting, Wishing is about a friend's amusing
pursuit of a girl and finds the album at its liveliest, featuring
some more fun lyrics, including 'I can't always be playing, playing
the fool' and 'if I was in your position, I'd put down all my
ammunition, I'd wonder why it's taken me so long'.
If I Could, meanwhile, comes quietly laced with melodica
and hand drums and is a heartfelt goodbye to a friend, featuring
some poignant lyrics such as: "I heard some words from a
friend on the phone that didn't sound so good/the doctor gave
him two weeks to live/I'd give him more if I could'.
It reminded me, in sentiment, of the equally poignant Bush track,
Letting The Cables Sleep, which was similarly penned
in memory of a dying friend.
Such sad and tender moments, however, are neatly offset by the
more happy go-lucky songs, most notably the aforementioned Breakdown,
which was used to such memorable effect by the Handsome Boy Modeling
Stripped of its beats and whistles, however, it remains an unplugged,
subtle and completely heart-warming number that pretty much sums
up why Jack Johnson is considered 'summer's hero'.
With his laidback grooves and hooks, it's easy to forget your
own worries and ease away the stresses of the day with the comfortable
knowledge that you're in the hands of a songwriting master.
Needless to say, the album comes highly recommended.
1. Better Together
2. Never Know
3. Banana Pancakes
4. Good People
5. No Other Way
6. Sitting, Waiting, Wishing
7. Staple It Together
9. Crying Shame
10. If I Could
13. Do You Remember