JAPE – Ocean of Frequency (Album Review)
Since picking up the Choice Award for their 2008 album, Ritual, Jape have seen a massive rise in their popularity both home and abroad. They’ve spent the last three years playing national and international tours as well as several high profile festival spots at Glastonbury, Electric Picnic and many more. Now the band is back with their fourth studio album, Ocean of Frequency and they’re in prime position to make the most of their celebrity as one of Ireland’s leading electro-pioneering pop groups and go all the way.
But do they want to?
Ocean of Frequency is the album Tickets There was anticipating a year ago when the band performed a mini-studio break show in the Button Factory. Sparse, quiet and extremely subdued in almost every way. All in all, a re-design of their classic tranquil sound with little or no attempts made to compete against live classics like ’I Was A Man’, ‘Strike Me Down’ and ‘Floating’ while at the same time it also lacks standout quieter moments like ‘At The Heart of all This Strangeness’, ‘Phil Lynott’ or ‘The Hardest Thing To Do’.
Oddly enough, Jape have chosen not include well received tasters ‘Hands of Fire’ and ‘Lying on a Deathbed’, which surfaced at the start of the summer or ‘The Worry Fades’ that was previewed last year and instead gone all out with a fresh spread for fans to enjoy. The new sound works well on tracks like ‘Please Don’t Turn the Record Off’, ’The Oldest Mind’ and ‘Too Many People’ – the albums opening tracks. However, as the record rolls on it becomes harder and harder to pull real excitement out of it and anyone hoping for a perfect musical assault, like that seen on Ritual, may be in for a let-down. Fans of the older sound will find a lot more to enjoy with songs like ‘You Make The Love’, ‘Scorpio’ and ‘Its Shadow Won’t Make Noise’ adding Jape’s signature writing style to the mix.
Ocean of Frequency is by no means an objectionable record, in fact it perfectly sits in line with the direction Jape initially started off on, but veered away from when Floating became such a hit. Unfortunately though, it lacks a definitive flag ship song to rally around, enjoy and sell it. The band has proven they can go all the way if they want but with Richie Egan’s tendency to keep all eyes focused on the music– maybe this is his way of reverting back to his roots and keep Jape the way he wants it, rather than let fans and popularity dictate the direction his creation should go in. At the end of the day, there’s no arguing with that.
Ocean of Frequency is due release on new label, music/is/for/losers on the 30th September. The official album launch will take place at The Button Factory on Saturday 1 October.