Something refreshingly inventive from new Bristol-based outfit Jakabol whose experimental journey builds bridges between many forms on their debut album Jaded Temple.
Release date: 7th October 2022
Format: streaming platforms
Folky music has had its fair share of experimental musicians toying with the genre in a way most traditional finger-in-the-ear balladeers have often turned either a deaf ear or just pure revulsion to. Jakabol – Maz on Violin, Owen on drums, Emmy on harp and flute, Joe on guitar and Luke on bass synths -are not only ripping apart convention further than perhaps Tull did in their proggy folk era, but will open up minds. I have to say I really like the results.
After negotiating the Roger Dean meets the Mayans style cover, much of what I hear is very much like Caravan meets folk rock added to the freedom of musical experimentation which suits me down to the ground. With the promise of world folk influences with progressive textures and explosive riffs, the opening track Hewn suggests something dark and heavy but it is just the opposite as the gentle harp leads a light melancholic number which subtly hides the energizing and incessant power which follows on the album.
The quintet are joined by Qariaq on the second track Eleven, which is the only track featuring vocals. The acrobatic swooping vocals accompany dark, pounding guitar riffs to provide a stark contrast to the opening track but end with wispy flute and harp.
The title track Jaded Temple adds a heavy Fairport element into the mix at times. The effervescent, crashing riffs and floating strings are pure joy and mesmerising when driven along by Mahvishnu-style drum patterns. A live performance of this track must be astounding before the gentle harp returns to reprise the calm opening.
However, sandwiched in between these two tracks we discover it is pointless trying to pinpoint what Jakabol are. Simply enter their fascinating musical world and enjoy. Their inspiration we are told comes partly from the Mahvishnu Orchestra and their ability to blend a wide range sounds is a skill replicated by Jakabol.
The explosive, guitar-dominated, Der Geisterzug, punctuated by the stinging violin is exciting and full of raucous rhythms. Geisterzug apparently means empty train and this runaway train goes over the hill and it rocks!! After that pounding some respite in the tranquil otherworldly Glyph. Argonaut displays why we should not attempt to pigeonhole Jakobol; heavy pounding rock chords, Tull-like flute, Canterbury prog-style keys and soaring flute build up to a dynamic pounding crescendo.
Blending prog and folk is not new but Jakabol’s exploration has revealed something totally new. It’s exciting, it’s fascinating and I hope it’s catching. As a debut album, one stands back in amazement at what they will develop into, as Jaded Temple is totally breathtaking!