Maybe it shimmied under your radar when released in June, but The Jacob James’ debut self-titled record is a must-listen for anyone who grew up loving classic rock, glam, and the latter half of the 20th century’s pop catalog. The band knocks Bait Bag off their perch as the newest addition to North Haven Island’s roster of great rock bands. No shade, Bait Bag, we will always love you so much, xoxo. They possess the same slick chromey vibe as The Cars, Cheap Trick, and Thin Lizzy. The sound has been reduced, reused, and recycled so often over the years that you may assume it to be tired but leave your expectations at the door as the group’s passion and energy will jolt you wide awake. Their less-mainstream influences also add that perfect bit of zest to the music’s flavor. As the ancient proverb, I just made up states: fools strive for originality, the genius strive for mastery. Everything’s been done — do something you love excellently. The Jacob James show great fortitude in the art of seemingly effortless cool.
The three songs released as singles — “Is It Enough?”, “The Feeling,” and “Time Moves On” — are obviously standout tracks. I also personally love “What Do You Want From Me?” “Never Gonna Stop Me Now,” and the mellower forlorn “Back To My Heart.” That said, each song is boiled down to a potent essence of perfect tones delivering catchy hooks. Not a single second goes to waste. The longest song on the album is its closing track “Live It Up,” clocking in at 3 minutes 8 seconds.
Though they require more performers for a live setting, in the studio, the band is a duo composed of Jake Greenlaw and Bill Trevaskis. Jake, who also drums for The Toughcats, initiated the project to address personal changes over the last few years, including his journey in sobriety. His passion and vulnerability are felt through every song as a clear driving force. Equally crucial, albeit subtler, the album’s adept sense of identity is Bill’s meticulous approach. Primarily focusing on lead guitar work and production, he put every song Jake brought to him under the microscope to tighten and hone each and every detail. “I love arranging songs like they’re model ships in a bottle,” says Trevaskis of his process.
This is an absolutely flawless debut album from a band sure to become a fast local favorite between its phenomenal vocal harmonies, seamless production, emotional honesty, and nostalgic appeal. Though still unsafe to play shows at this time, the band is itching to get out in front of people. I’ll certainly be on the lookout. The album is available anywhere you can stream music and merch, including their Bandcamp, which also has sweet pins & bitchin’ stickers. You know what? I’m just gonna say it. I really want this album on vinyl. If you’re reading this guys, consider this a preorder.