The Death Throes of a Jaded Empire
January 29th, 2021 sees the release of Jack Cade’s third solo studio album, ‘The Death Throes of a Jaded Empire’, written and recorded by Jack whilst holed up in a studio during lockdown. The album title reflects a growing sense that, as a nation, ‘Great’ Britain is somewhat living on it’s past perceived glories, much like a washed up Hollywood actor continually recounting tales of the good old days. Everyone else is moving on, yet we seem unable to reimagine ourselves in a better way.
Musically, it falls somewhere between 2016’s dark and at times attritional ‘A Murder of Crows’ and the more upbeat tunes of 2019’s ‘Bear Bones’. Covering the theme of awakening, it weaves its way through tales of growing up in a run-down seaside town, hidden history, navigating the difficulties of modern divisions, protest, deception, love and the struggles of letting go of past regrets. It would be fair to say, Jack doesn’t really do light and easy subjects or tales, and his songs are delivered in a distinctive rough baritone that, at times, has a nasty growling edge, as if he has his own personal overdrive pedal lodged in his throat.
Ultimately though, it is all about the lyrics, stories, observations on life and the experiences along that well-worn road that breathe life into his songs, painting broad and accessible pictures on each subject.
As Jack puts it. “ I am, like all of us, the product of my upbringing, the places I’ve lived, the family and friends around me, the media I consume, the lessons learned at school, in books and even comics. But the history we learn rather than experience, as a very old adage goes, is ‘written by the winners’, and as such, any uncomfortable truths and facts are buried, lost and polished out of existence. Like the title of the third song on the album, the last decade has been like a gradual ‘Awakening’ for me, a realignment of knowledge and a lot of the foundation blocks that make up my understanding of life and society, and my place in it. This album explores some of this awakening, from my roots growing up in a fading Victorian seaside town to the growing realisation that a lot of what I have taken for granted as being truth is far from it in my little bubble of life. All I can do now is strive to relearn and restructure, question more, open my mind to new ideas and truths, and build new perspectives. “
Jack is joined on the album by a talented bunch of musician Ben Cox-Smith on Dobro Slide Guitar, Hana Maria on Violin, Adam Perry and Mark Tudor drums.
Reviews of The Death Throes of a Jaded Empire
Should your tastes run to the bleak, and you enjoy monochrome lithographs, frock coats and the book of revelation, liking the idea of ragged pants prophets roaming desolate wastelands, these magnificent dirges should give be right up your street. With a voice aged in barrels of rot-gut, Jack Cade sings with fire and brimstone chasers, in a rumbling baritone that could give any other man in black a run for their money.
Jack Cade? You’ve likely never heard of him; but if this exact album had been released in the same guise by Johnny Cash, Tom Waits or even any North American from One Stump, Hicksville it would be lauded to and from the rooftops by the National Press; but it’s not and they won’t; so it’s left to the likes of RMHQ to tell you to get on board the Cade Train ASAP …. you can thank me later.
"What's the point to wax lyrical and sing/If the words that we say don't mean anything", he asks. But these words are tempered in the fire of commitment and determination, and while the old empire may be in its death throes, Cade offers the glimpse of a genuinely true brave new world.
01 - It Ain't Easy
02 - The Amber Lights
03 - The Awakening
04 - Saviours and Sinners
05 - Night Terrors
06 - Some Bruises Don't Fade
07 - What Do The People Say
08 - Setting Fires
09 - Deep Blue Sea
“It ain’t easy” he muses on the opener, “to peel the fake from fact and see the reasons for the act”, except that’s what he proceeds to do for the next nine songs. “Another man made travesty, blamed upon what can’t be seen” is typical of the acerbic, brilliance here.
And it also must be said that as much as this – ostensibly – is acoustic, it’s the fabulously well-picked out music that you notice after a listen or two. Ben Cox-Smith on Dobro Slide Guitar, Hana Maria on Violin, Adam Perry and Mark Tudor with some drums and percussion are all integral to the mix.
Jack has a voice like a fine bourbon,smooth and silky with a deep kick. Jack gives us quality songs with a quality voice, that transcends into a quality album.
You'd be mistaken,whilst listening,that Jack hails from the South coast of England and not the in the deep South of the USA.
His voice and songs belong in a hard hitting tv series like Sons Of Anarchy or True Blood.
The album flows seamlessly from one track to another and you sometimes think that Johnny Cash has been brought back from the dead.