Album review: JAKE MORLEY – The Manual

JAKE MORLEY - The Manual

Sandwich Emporium [Release date 10.06.16]

You sense London based acoustic singer/songwriter Jake Morley tolerates the music industry, and all the hype that goes with it, rather than embraces it.  His 2011 debut Many Fish To Fry found favour with Radio 2 and 6 Music, and built him a small, but respectable, following.  But its failure to ‘take off’ left him filled with self-doubt, and the self-exploratory construction of his follow-up has been both painful and painstaking as songs have been obsessively re-written and refined.

But the results have been well worthwhile.  While his debut spilled from his pen and centred on his songs and acoustic guitar playing, The Manual is a properly ‘grown up’ multi-layered piece of work with delicately constructed arrangements.  The difference, as marked as that between Paul Simon’s early work and that when he began to explore world music after the split with Garfunkel.

While we’ve not seen the finished product (a book-bound style paper digi-pack with 20-pages of lyrics, credits, and illustrations), Morley has once again worked with producer Calum MacColl (Rokia Traore, Peggy Seeger, Black) to produce an eleven track ‘emotionally honest diary and a joyous survival manual’.

And while his debut was perhaps too quirky for the mainstream market, the new found maturity of The Manual should by rights  have broader appeal.  Nowhere is that better demonstrated than by the two lead tracks  the haunting ‘Ghosts’, ‘Falter’ with its shimmering guitar lines, and world influenced ‘Watch Yourself’ which together form a glorious centrepiece to the album.

Well worth a listen.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley


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