Dance of Life
In the current stagnation of the modern music scene, we often find ourselves clinging to the masters of the past to provide us with new and exciting sounds; to whet our aural appetite. Though Jayl has a patchwork of experience and success, from \'The World and The Hooded Man\' to \'8 Beasts\', that may make the title of \'new talent\' somewhat inappropriate, his new \'Dance of Life\' provides such a shift in direction and such a pallet of innovation that it may be more astute to dub this a profound new musical movement. With a characteristic blending of genres and the alchemical formation of new ones, \'The Dance of Life\' is a seminal work of art for the age, commentating on myriad social and spiritual cruxes, with enough delicate sophistication to satiate our minds and ears for a lifetime. With a play time of exactly 44 minutes, to the second, \'The Dance of Life\' might seem to be an utterly calculated album, with no detail left to chance. However, upon attaining a deeper perspective on the creation of the album, one may see that the spirit is of fate and chance have been instrumental in the formation of the album. Three years in the making, \'The Dance of Life\' contains a solid, complex concept, bred from the combined musings and dark understanding of some the foremost artists in the country. With the haunting canvas imagery of Terry Anthony forming the crooked, painted backbone of the project and the musical purging of Andy Wood and Landa, Jayl has a perfect triptych to back up his masterwork, amounting to this diverse and fantastical world found in \'The Dance of Life\'. \'The Slings\' kicks off the track listing and sets the foundation for the album's story. The dark, almost dub bass, layered with bluesy jazz-rock guitar lines and topped with a rhythmical vocal performance intertwine with the dark electronic heart and mysterious lyrics to evoke a sense of urgency in the listener. From here, the path of the album, through it's seven remaining tracks, seems to breathe as it follows some twisted forest trail, with a looming aura of happiness through strife and an omnipresent knowledge that something haunts these woods. \'The Dance of Life\' plays a studied homage to Joe Strummer with \'Ghosts of The Underground\', displaying a cryptic hint of Jayl\'s roots in London through the filtered psychedelic bass and true funky jazz guitar, which showcases some of Andy Wood's astounding talent. Laced with emotion and taking the concept story forwards in time, the uplifting feel from the tribal drumming and staccato guitar backing is counter-pointed by the eerie lyrics heavy vocal delivery. Track three, \'Holy Ground\' is the first track to include the vocal performance of Landa, with her unconventional harmonization and beautifully macabre intonation lacing with Jayl\'s voice like the roots of an ancient and decrepit tree. A perfect ghost story, \'Holy Ground\' breaks the conventional confines of genres and takes us on a journey. Close your eyes and listen. \'You are holding up my head so I can breathe\'. Twinned with \'Dark Angel\', this twisted tale of both devotion and betrayal takes us into the true heart of this album, both conceptually and musically. Picture some grim postman, delivering a nebulous and guileful portent of unknown origin to your door; this is \'Delivered\'. With Andy Wood contributing vocally, the contrast brings about a lush, rich tonal soundscape shrouded in a rock-industrial sky. Quickfire lyrics and a sharp vocal style from Jayl seem to almost be the anger to Woods\' melancholia - the musings of an anguished soul, relentlessly objurgated by this black presentiment. \'Dark Angel\', fifth on the album, is a track beyond comparisons, lending itself only to the listening. Indefinable, yet immutable, this beautiful, unearthly song will take the audience through six minutes, forty-three seconds of some of the most potent, emotive art produced to-date. This is a grimoire of life; profound and unflinching. Another collaboration between Jayl and Landa has amounted to some previously unexplored, layered harmonies and some striking imagery, both lyrically and musically. Next, \'Evenlode\' turns the tables on the foreboding and embraces it as love. With an upbeat, funk rock feel and some distant ambiance in the almost Van Halen-esque riff, \'Evenlode\' evokes the spirits of a confused wandering artist, who finds himself lost (or found) in a ghost town. Craving the place indefinitely, he allegorises the immortal intrigue of the afterlife. Jayl uses his trademark growl to emphasise the longing, almost desperation, felt towards this place of mystery and beauty; a longing and fascination to which we can all relate. \'Halloween\' is a child of Jayl\'s\' significant time spent in Holland, writing with Landa. In exporting his own celebration of the spiritual forces, driven by the afterlife and the unknown, this song was born. Taking the album story and concept to it\'s\' core, the track questions the nature of existence, before, during and after the life we perceive ourselves in. The haunting, seething instrumentals are complimented by a complex structure of vocal harmonies and intrinsically personal lyrics to make us feel the compulsion to wonder; what, when and why? Drawing the album to a solemn close, \'Delighted\' is the final cry from the soul of the lady ghosts\' lover. Generations past, his reincarnated persona has never forgotten his lost love. He finds himself begging to be haunted by his stolen bride's spirit, weary from the seemingly endless search through time for her. Matt Clackett\'s smooth saxophone lines add a liquor of passion to the track, with a soulful and heartfelt vocal delivery from Jayl over the walking drums and understated bass. The perfect close to the album, it brings us down into a reflective and somehow nostalgic sadness. After first listen, the album drags the listener in with it's\' strong concept and musical virtuosity. Repeatedly staggering, this is a massively significant work, deserving of the attention it will, no doubt, receive in plenitude. \'The Dance of Life\' looks set to become a well remembered, pioneering album; the most innovative and expressive musical force we have seen for some time. By Talon Patience.