JEALOUS GIVE US SONIC CANDY FOR THE EARS
Saturdays, for me are usually spent on Swinton precinct buying groceries and then camping on the sofa watching the footy scores on Sky. So when Jason Edge, lead singer with Salford's Yank pleasing rock band Jealous told me they were playing an acoustic unplugged gig at Blue Inc. clothes chain in Bury that coming Saturday, I jumped at the chance to catch up with the boys again.
Bury, a town famous for its market, black pudding and Mercury Prize winning superstars Elbow, has buffed up somewhat since the last time I ventured up there. The town centre has been done up and the place has a resurgent buzz about it. I find my way to the store where Jealous have their gear set up and manage to get a grip of the effervescent Jason with his blonde hair closely cropped and ask how the gig came about…
"Well a guy that works at Blue Inc came to see us play and went back into the store and said we were brilliant" he explained "They said we sounded like the kind of band they want to tie in with and so we got together with them and they asked us to do some in store gigs."
So with a new album due out soon this was a good opportunity to air a couple of new tracks and in truth they sounded strong. The acoustic sound gave a rootsy, bluesy feel. Lead guitarist Andy reminded me of Richard Thompson when he chugged away at his rockier stuff, Jason's voice crooned like a silkier version of Ian Astbury and the tunes were held together by Keith Whitehead's solid bass playing. The album, with the full tracks, is now 75% complete…
"We're down to the final vocals and guitar parts" Jason says "everything's down – drums, bass, keyboards, all the rhythm tracks and everything so we're sorted."
The album has a working title of 'Sonic Candy for the Soul' and promises a healthy mix of rock work outs with more subtle numbers to utilise Jay's versatile vocal range. It's refreshing to see a band committed to standing up to the soulless ipod and mp3 generation, where it has become the norm to click a button on your laptop and, bingo!, you have the album.
I asked Jay why he thought things like going out buying an album and observing the artwork and sleeve notes that go into the completed product are being pushed away…
"The problem is the industry is changing, everything's so quick" he said "It's like no one's got any longevity with anything anymore. The music industry is not interested in anything that's got any artistic quality, to the point where, you know, the art work is suffering on albums and the songs are suffering as well, its not like it used to be."
Well there's no chance of this band compromising on the quality of the artwork for 'Sonic' because they have sounded out local artist Joe Coffey with regards to getting involved in the design of the album sleeve
"Yes, we're talking with Joe because he's a fantastic logo artist and very, very proud of where he comes from" he sais "That's something that's dear to our hearts as well, the fact that we're all local lads. What we're going to try and do to is to get a combination of what Joe's doing and what's in our minds, mix it all up, and then let Joe loose so that he can create something."
So it was a busy day for the band, who completed three mini sets over the course of the day and none the less enjoyable for hearing a mix of old and new tunes which included a version of the brilliant 'Stardust' and a new song I couldn't get out of my head called '1,3,6.'
The shoppers were impressed as well - I noticed a girl aged about six taking photos and also a more mature woman in sixties shouting encouragement as she passed by. Now that's what I call appealing to a wide audience.
So with a return visit to the Town the following Monday, Jealous were due to take part in the annual GlastonBury event at the Met with a full electric set.
For those who want to listen to the band's unique rock sound and catch up with the latest goings on, you can visit their site on www.jealousworld.com and also www.myspace.com/jealousworld . The lads are also going to be taking part in Manchester's In The City' in October and fingers crossed, 'Sonic Candy for The Soul' will be out before Christmas.
Words and photos by Graham Williamson