Jay Tennant is a prolific singer songwriter from the Midlands.
He surprised everyone on Friday 4th February by announcing his new album and dropping the bandcamp streams and vinyl pre-order links to a bit of a rumpus on the twitterverse.
Wasting no time I was straight over there, reserving my copy in eagerness of what I hoped it would sound like.
But before all that lets go back to late 2019.
I first came across Jay as part of a Spurs twitter group that would regularly moan at the plight of our club that had reached for the stars just months previously but were now languishing in a post CL final haze which even now in 2022 seems to be the case – but as always there is hope.
We bonded over a love of films and Ozzie Rockers INXS. Jay was different to a lot of the footy fans I chat to and I mean this in a nice way to them, Jay looks cool. Great Hair/Sunnies, like a Spurs rock god in the making I guess.
Oh and as it turned out he was a musician and songwriter and had already released a plethora of songs that were mostly ignored. However, I thought I would listen anyway and was immediately surprised with the quality of the song writing and production of the songs – songs like Halo and Sirens really seemed to crackle and pop in a kind of Richard Ashcroft way. I decided then that this guy was one to keep an eye on and help as much as I could, as long as he could handle my moaning about another terrible defeat by Spurs.
Anyway since those days – Jay has ramped up his music output and with each song being better and better then the last – Star Chasing, Star City Serenade, Noxville, Sparks on and on it has gone with Jay raising his profile and reaching more like minded music lovers with each release – even the great Robert Carlyle is a fan (fact! I asked him).
Now most of those songs have been pulled together into an album with a few new songs added for a 10 track magnum opus called Forever Roses.
The album is Jay laying down his claim for the coolest rocker in Indiedom – and he’s going about it by revisiting his past and rekindling some of the great indie/rock music of the 80’s (mostly).
I’ve written and spoken about the dark days of indie during the 80’s before it became really popular and went over the top in the 90’s. However there was still music to enjoy back then if you looked for it and many of the big stadium bands of the late 80’s and into the 90’s and beyond were forged in these dark times. This is where I sense most of the inspiration for this album comes from.
Kicking off with the brilliant Journey into the Night – its all War era U2 with Edge type guitars busting out, before they became obsessed with deserts and cowboy hats. Its a great way to start any album, Star Chasing is hot on its heals – a single that in some ways has been forgotten but deserves its place amongst the best Jay has done, it’s as catchy as corona I think I mentioned some time ago – I love the facts the lyrics talk of Monroe, Bardot etc – linking in Jay’s love for films – its U2 I will follow type chorus is magnificent.
This album rattles along at a great pace, you get James (the band) vibes on Star City Serenade and Listen Like Thieves era INXS on the sexy (yep I said that) Poker Polka – its also like a cool Duran Duran song from that mid 80’s era as well.
New single The Black Angel and Sparks keeps up the quality, Sparks especially with its peak Peter Buck REM guitar licks its all so good you don’t realise you’ve been singing along and throwing shapes all the way. So when Stone Cold kicks in, you need a break.
Stone Cold is an acoustic epic track that I’ve already said could be the best song Jay has written – on first listen and umpteenth times since I’m still of that mind. Love aches and hurts and pulls you down again Jay sings. Its a triumph.
At this point I must make comment to the production of the album – this is no bedroom made batch of songs – its high quality studio produced which reminds me of the work Steve Lillywhite was doing for many great bands of the past.
In addition Jays voice is in top order – I would say its less Richard Ashcroft now and more his own thing – he can sing a great melody and has an awesome falsetto. All songs are easy on the ear of course and Jay doesn’t struggle to hit the notes and get the song across. Equally his lyrics are engaging and he has a canny knack of bringing the songs to life like mini stories – in fact the whole album has a cinematic theme to it- I think its about going out on a big night out with the one you love and having a brilliant time – if so I can buy into that.
New songs Exile Central and Twilight Tango give a glimpse of where Jay is going after this album, we get some piano and bottle neck guitar and end the album on a high.
Oh and of course the album includes Spectre. Where do you even start with reviewing this song?
Basically it is the greatest Bond Theme that is waiting to be – its as big and grandiose as you would hope….whoever the next Bond is – they need this as their song. I’m so into you sings Jay – yes, yes, we are Mr Tennant. We’ve been expecting you.
As I write this I am looking for comparisons to other current artists plying this type of credible stadium filling shizzle. Apollo Junction come to mind – a band with lots of singles who also managed to pull them into a cohesive album whilst aping the more electronic 80’s sound – its a fair comparison and certainly a gig with both of them on the bill would be amazing. Outside of that you have the likes of Shed 7 and Kaiser Chiefs who like a big crowd or even The Killers who like an indie anthem. There is no shame in Jay being part of this, however just like all Spurs fans he’s dreaming of something bigger and better as a Top 4 finish just isn’t quite good enough, I’ve got a feeling he might just be right.
Forever Roses is available now to stream and pre order on vinyl at BandCamp:
You can also check out his other great music there and also on Spotify:
Or indeed follow the fine chap on Twitter and Instagram:
Oh and a gig:
Please let me know what you think and remember – Read, Share, Buy, Repeat