‘Join the Dots’ is a much more complex track than its title suggests, immediately inviting us into intrigue and the search for meaning. Consider it a game – and far from a child’s.
Opening with unfurling psych-folk of both rhythm and lead guitar, this track is proof of Jack Cheshire’s ability to be experimental with creativity yet still convey fundamentals of the human condition.
From his album ‘Black Light Theatre’, produced by PJ Harvey/Bat for Lashes cohort Rob Ellis – the single ‘Join the Dots’ is a stand-out track in the multiple sensations it is capable of evoking. This seems almost summarised through the clever juxtaposition in the lyrics “Young minds are elastic, but mine is a stone” on opening. Is this expressing great insight on age or showing how we can isolate ourselves? I believe both; for this is sound which treads the tightrope between convention and chaos, guitars gutsy yet with gravitas, managing to keep it together thanks to the clear chemistry between the musicians involved.
Concepts of the every-day are undressed through Jack’s spiralling, shifting vocals as he contemplates: “Wondering how will I ever escape from the plans that I’ve made”, interlaced with more evocative imagery such as “The murder of crows / That slept on the lawn”.
This is an illustration of Cheshire’s ability to take the listener on a tumbling, terrific journey, unleashing the full capacity of living and loving. Despite the repeated chorus line of “follow you down the precipice”, this is far from sad, it is enthused with passion. Layered-up guitar guiding us through his dedication to the addressee of the track, life’s “little darling”. He has love in sight – but can he get there?, the song questions on behalf of us all.
Intensifying over the course of the repeated chorus, the dynamics then change – with a plash of drums and extended electric notes leading us to the entrance of love-lorn strings and harmonies. Too much of a transition? I think otherwise – more like a kind of shift which invites the arms of reflection to slip round us, and made me in particular think back over his use of wording and expression; the earlier repeated line of “Eyeing the sky” suddenly becoming clear in what it means – life is full of possibilities, the sky’s the limit.
The level of composure the track meets by its time of closing is precise and manages to avoid seeming sudden or stunted. There is a clear progression of instruments here, with the combination of strings and a wash of melodies easing us into a sense of serenity – though a drumbeat still simmers in the background, reminding us constantly of the capacity for change – the fascinating flux of life in a well-formed track. Well-executed, with a dialectical charm which brings both refreshing difference and tenderness.
The new album ‘Black Light Theatre; is released on 7th April, featuring the single ‘Join The Dots’. To co-inside with the release, Jack Cheshire will be touring the UK, for the full list of date head here.