Artist: Jack Cookson
Album: Five Times EP
Running Time: 19 minutes
Released: 20th July 2012
If you haven’t heard of Plymouth-based Jack Cookson yet, then what you need to know is that on the 20th July 2012, the 18-year-old musician gave us his début release, an EP that he recorded, mixed, and mastered independently. Since then, Jack’s popularity for Five Times EP has grown slowly but surely due to web exposure and his frequent live performances around Plymouth. His fan-base racks into the hundreds on his Facebook and his more intimate page on Tumblr. If you feel that you’re missing out by having not heard Jack’s EP yet, then you can do so here: at this Bandcamp.
The now-19 year old Jack Cookson is gearing up to release another EP around Easter, but in the mean time, let’s take a look at Jack’s Five Times EP.
Jack Cookson Playing Live at The Three Crowns
01. Ocean Song – (04.14)
02. The Table – (04.20)
03. My Eyes Were Blind – (03.16)
04. The Head, the Heart, and the Flesh – (04.22)
05. Sonnenblume – (03.51)
The first tack is a down-beat folk song reminiscent of the musical styling of Bob Dylan with subtle harmonica and gentle finger-picking. It is clear that Jack is heavily influenced by Dylan in this song, with particular lyrical reference to Boots of Spanish Leather: “Send you something back over, to remember me by.” Cookson’s vocals in this track are faint and solemn, telling a nautical allegory of a man who thinks about what life could be like, were he able to sail away.
Ocean Song‘s main strength is that it maps out a tale with a beginning, middle and an end; something that sounds so simple, but often un-achieved by lyricists. One negative to take away from the track is that it sounds a little like it was recorded at distance, which undoubtedly helps the listener sympathise with the song’s subject of travel, but opinion could be split over whether it was necessary.
The second song; The Table, was one of the first recorded and released off of the EP, and was made available quite early on through his Facebook page. The track displays some of Cookson’s quirky attitude when it comes to song-writing; interestingly, literally using a table as a metaphor for a relationship, musing that the couple’s relationship is as “pointless as trying to get some warmth from a dying fire” and suggests burning a table to rekindle passion.
My Eyes Were Blind, is the first prevalent broken-hearted song about ‘a girl’. This song takes great strength from its multi-instrumentalist approach and relatable subject matter. If you’re of a certain age then you too, will have your own version of the girl, and cried and “never quite knew why, although I always knew it had a lot to do with you.”
Penultimately, Jack gives us the full band piece The Head, the Heart, and the Flesh, making great use of the drums, played by Ben Tucker, showcasing Cookson’s ability to play in a band environment as well as solo. Drawing inspiration from Dave Hause’s song Meet Me at the Lanes, the gentle crescendo of drums leads the listener into a change of direction into the most upbeat song on the EP. The song doesn’t reflect on the past as his others have, but concerns the future, which he does so with a dangerously catchy chorus.
The last song Sonnenblume, is a spectrum of teenage emotion sung through a hauntingly soft voice acting as a gentle outro, and leaves me keen to hear more from Jack Cookson in the future. If you feel the same after listening, please be sure to give a like and a listen on his Facebook and Bandcamp.
(Permission was given by Jack Cookson to use performance photograph(s) – Copyright Scott Calnon Photography)