Since forming in 2010, with a list of live performances supporting the likes of Jake Bugg, Ren Harvieu, Lucy Rose, Tim Burgess, The Milk, Josh Kumra, Steve Craddock (Ocean Colour Scene), Mik Whitnall and Drew McConnell (Babyshambles); Hartlepool ‘Industrial Folk’ collective The Jar Family have acquired more kudos than anyone could shake a stick at. Following the 2011 début ‘The Jar Family Album’, 2013 sees the release their second album ‘Jarmalade’ and of double a-side single Machine / Footsteps.
The Jar Family’s distinctive style of north-east blues & roots, uniquely coined as ‘Industrial Folk’, flows through the very core of this album. Opening with one half of their double a-side single Machine / Footsteps, ‘Machine‘ is a rock and roll statement, with mesmerising rhythm and vocals that tell a thousand stories, through lyrics and through style. ‘Moya Moya‘ deserves a mention if not purely for the Lemmy-esque vocals, and it is here that the blues elements really come into their own and alongside the Bob Dylan style story telling, establish very early on the quality of ‘Jarmalade’. There are some genuinely inspired tracks on this album, ‘Where Do You Come From Babe‘ is a beautiful blues anthem, beautifully written, beautifully arranged and beautifully performed. Not to discredit the remainder of this album however, every song is a writing master-class and a valuable contribution to a contemporary yet classic blues collection.
As far as follow-ups go, ‘Jarmalade’ comes second to none. The depth of quality in this record is outstanding, from the production to song-writing prowess and this increases with every listen. It is no surprise that The Jar Family have been recently entered for the Mercury Prize and if this sophomore album represents only the beginning of their journey, they will have an extensive trophy cabinet by the end of it.