LCM ALBUM/EP OF THE WEEK
THE BURNING LOW EP - TOBIAS BEN JACOB & LUKAS DRINKWATER
Release Date: 13th November, 2015
Genre: Singer-Songwriter, Alt-folk, Indie-folk, Acoustic.
Location: Exeter and London
Record Company: Independent
Website: http://www.tobiasbenjacob.com/ and http://www.lukasdrinkwater.com/
It is probably fair to say that the new 'The Burning Low' EP from Tobias ben Jacob and Lukas Drinkwater is a wonderful little gem. Drawing comparions to the virtuosic pairing of John Martyn & Danny Thompson and Luke Concannon & John Parker (Nizlopi), Tobias and Lukas are some of the most inventive and thrilling musicians on the current live Folk circuit. Both successful musicians in their own right, this is a magical pairing. Singer-songwriter Tobias ben Jacob first received wider acclaim as part of 'The Roots Union' with BBC Folk Award winners Phillip Henry & Hannah Martin including playing live at Maida Vale Studios and recording in Nashville, Tennessee. After a few years out from music he returned with the 2014 release ’The St Sidwells Session’ and a run of summer festivals including Glastonbury and Larmer Tree. Lukas Drinkwater is rightly referred to as ‘one of busiest musicians in the UK' and is rapidly become the new 'Danny Thompson' of his generation. In demand as a performer and session player in the worlds of folk and jazz he has featured on many acclaimed albums. Currently touring with Ange Hardy (as part of a new duo), he has also worked with 3 Daft Monkeys, Jim Causley, Lack of Afro, Lucy Ward, Tankus The Henge, Sam Kelly, The Little Unsaid, Emily Barker, The Company of Players and many more.
Tobias' sweeping vocals never fail to captivate, delivering many a spine-tingling moment; the fluidity and precision of his finger-picking underpinned by Lukas' nimbly rhythmic and percussive double bass. The added compliment of stirring vocal harmonies nicely finishes off the mix. When you dig a little more into to lyrics you quickly realise that Tobias is a excellent songwriter, with deep, honest meaningful and reflective lyrics woven into a very strong melody.
The EP was funded via a very successful Pledge Music crowd-funding campaign and was released in November last year. It has already garnered airplay and glowing reviews from such quarters as Radio 2’s Folk Show, BBC 6's Tom Robinson, Amazing Radio, BBC Introducing, BBC Bristol, FRUK, Fatea, Spiral Earth, Louder Than War and ‘Whispering’ Bob TV. The EP was recorded at Valvestatic Studios, Exeter with Jolyon Holroyd. With 'A Polyphonic life recorded by Gareth Young at Cube Recording in Cornwall. The original sleeve design is by Birdonabox with photography by Samantha Davies
The EP opens with the excellent title track 'Burning Low' which sets the tone, with Lukas' plucked and percussive double bass line and backing vocals weaving around Tobias' finger-picked acoustic guitar and lead vocals. The track has a very strong hook and melody. "Well the sky's alive with a million shining words and the day's wide open as an empty page. You sing I Am, once again I am
The king of here, king of now. Light me up one time.....I've been burning low and I don't know why".
The very intriguing titled 'The Devil & Tobias ben Jacob' has almost whispered lyrics and bowed double bass adding a layer of deep melancholy. It has the feel of Spanish and Classic guitar too.
We love the lyrics in the next track 'Autosong' 'Carry Me inside until I lay this body down....a million times we fall, we are only human after all' . Watch out for the great guitar solo and Lukas' bassline too.
The mood slows a little for the sublime and reflective 'Desire'. "It's not bodies, it is souls that feel, a burning hunger for something real. Ah, but the things you do just to feel alive. They have wounded you a thousand times....And it's unholy all this longing if you lose yourself in desire. And all she asks of you is to slow down time, make the world brand new. Bring it back to life."
One of our favourite tracks on the album 'We Are The First Ones Now' also features Exeter based trio 'Wildwood Kin' providing super vocal harmonies. 'You hit me like a hurricane. All my walls came tumbling down. Homeless, naked as a new-born child. Hold me in wonder. We are the first ones now".
The album closes with the excellent ode to 21st century living 'A Polyphonic Life'. A song that is very catchy and you will probably have looping around your head for ages. This one is brilliant live. "They really set me up, they plugged me in. Now I talk in a monotone, I say the same God-damned thing. Cut my hair, change my name. Make a man out of me. You really fixed me up. I'm in your head, but I don't believe the things that you said. It's only ghosts, only dust. That you measure me by.......Oh let me breathe, let me fly.....Oh let me live......A polyphonic...... Life".