From the moment I heard the first few chords of Trick of the Light in 2014, coupled with David Jakes' guttural yet ethereal vocals I was intrigued. Fast forward to Reading Festival 2015 and Lonely The Brave's performance early in the day and I'm hooked. Anthemic choruses with vocals that cut through into your soul, their sound is as poignant as Bruce Springsteen and as big as Biffy Clyro.
I watched in awe as they played through songs from The Day's War including the epic Backroads. Little did I know at the time but this song would become a song I hold very close to my heart. I can't fully put my finger on why but this performance and their debut album struck a chord with me and they became a band I feel an emotional connection to that goes being the realms of just "liking a band."
I bought tickets for a show I later couldn't make and a festival they were headlining that got cancelled. It seemed I was destined to not see them again.
The Day's War has so many tracks that tick every box. The lyrics hit hard as you learn that David Jakes has struggles with his mental health and sometimes you can read between the lines that he is a person struggling yet driven by hope, and maybe that's what strikes a chord with me, his hope drives him on and inspires him to write and perform. Backroads, Dinosaurs, Deserter, Kings of the Mountain, The Blue, The Green and Call of Horses are stand out tracks but the album in it's entirety is a thing of beauty. Every single track has its place.
Lonely The Brave have also brought out "Redux" versions of some songs that are stripped back, slowed down, mellow versions of some songs and Backroads (Redux) as mentioned, became a song that became close to me and will forever be engrained in my heart.
They have a couple of covers that need a mention. A stunning cover of Bruce Springsteen's Streets of Philadelphia and a haunting version of Pink Floyd's Comfortably Numb. I would argue that both are better than the originals which may rub some people up the wrong way!
2016 was time for the band's Sophomore offering Things Will Matter. The title knocks you back straight away, LTB aren't pulling any punches here and that is backed up by leading single Black Mire with its huge intro, haunting verses and powerful choruses. The band are pushing themselves.
Rattlesnakes, Jaws of Hell and Dust & Bones show the band can go on to huge things, emulating the stadium-filling tracks of the previous album while Radar, Diamond Days and Strange Like I show that the band can also write more accessible tracks and reach a wider audience.
They then released the Dust & Bones EP that included the Comfortably Numb cover and as great a version as it was perhaps it was a clue to where David Jakes' head was and in 2018 the band announced he was leaving the band to focus on his mental health. I was heartbroken to hear this for two reasons; his wellbeing and I would never hear the band again in the form that I'd fallen so hard for. The band announced they'd be looking for a new singer and later announced Grumble Bee's Jack Bennett would be joining and after listening to Grumble Bee I was worried. Not because the music was bad but it didn't sound like his voice was a fit.
2019 came and went and there was barely a whisper from the band, other than a small performance. 2020 hits and up until March we hear nothing. But then a social media post hints towards new music coming soon. I'd let go of this band but suddenly the intrigue is back.
BOOM, they drop the single Bound Out of Nowhere and I almost feel overwhelmed when I hear it. The vocals aren't David Jakes', they're Jack Bennett's. The band have honed their sound to work with him and his vocals, which for me, are streets ahead of his Grumble Bee tracks.
That brings us to the present day, in a time of uncertainty, boredom and worry, it is best to turn to creativity and part of that is discovering others' creativity and I wait eagerly for more music by a band I love, while I often Google 'David Jakes' in the hope that one day I can hear that incredible voice creating new sounds.
LTB - happy to have you back, hopefully I will finally see a live show soon. If somehow this blog can ever reach David Jakes I would say thank you for lyrics and songs that gave me wonderful moments, helped me through darker times and made me realise that nobody going through struggles is ever really alone.
Lonely The Brave... They've Been Around For Ages.