Album Review: Jonathan Jeremiah – Oh Desire

sees British folk staple Jonathan Jeremiah bounce back with refreshingly soulful third album

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★★★☆☆

Jonathan Jeremiah, the 33 year old English songwriter, is back with a third album, Oh Desire, which follows his albums Gold Dust (2012) and A Solitary Man (2011). Oh Desire has more of an acoustic originality (differing slightly from his previous albums) underlying the entirety of it as Jeremiah establishes himself as a soulful alternative to Ben Howard. ‘Arms’ provides an upbeat yet mournful version of a love song with gentle suspended strings providing a wholesome yet etherial atmosphere throughout. Similarly in this track, the Hammond organ which subtly lies underneath creates almost a Nick Cave vibe throughout, while the earthy finger-picking in ‘The Birds’ mimics Fleet Foxes somewhat.

However, the refreshing simplicity of his lyrics, often channeling nature and simple beauties of life, are perfectly accompanied with the depth and quality of his voice, which often ends with an effortless vibrato; wholesome and classic. The musicality of the album cannot be disputed, however some songs feel slightly repetitive and even cliche at times. ‘Smiling’ is delightful, charming and easy on the ears, but it is very clear where it is heading musically and lyrically during the track; it is almost too sugary sweet.

The folky, homegrown sound Jeremiah produces is familiar in artists like Ben Howard and Fleet Foxes but, with ease and grace, he weaves the soulful aspect of his vibe carefully into most tracks, most notably in ‘Walking on Air’, which opens with the gentle thudding of a double bass and a steady syncopated drumming bringing the whole track together. ‘Rosario’ takes the soulful element right to the core of the track, creating an old-school atmosphere that has been needed to be reinvented for some time in the music industry. Oh Desire is perfect background relaxation music with its mellow tones and jazz and soul influences. Jeremiah may need some more time to find a bit more of a consistent sound that portrays fully what he is trying to deliver. Nevertheless, the album is mature, sophisticated and romantic; it is definitely worth discovering this diamond in the rough.

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