Stepping out from behind the drum-kit an straight to the front of stage is a daunting prospect, moving from the backbone of the band to the face of the operation. This is exactly the move that Hotel Lights drummer Darren Jessee has made with his new album ‘The Jane, Room 217‘ and my oh my are we glad that he’s done so! ‘The Jane, Room 217’ may well just be the album to give any album from more established Singer/Songwriters like Damien Rice, Tallest Man On Earth, Ben Howard and David Gray a run for their money.
Honest, emotionally open and performed with such raw beauty, the thirty-nine minute run time spanning nine tracks is probably exactly the right length, but due to it’s sheer enjoyability, my self-indulgent side just wishes this album lasted even longer. There’s no pomp and ceremony, no bombast, no theatrics and no excess to be found, instead replaced with a single guitar and small orchestral line-up working their way through a selection of exquisitely written songs.
Particular mentions simply have to go out to ‘Ruins‘ and ‘Anything You Need‘, the former being possibly one of the most genuinely tear-jerking and heart-felt songs I have ever heard. An absolutely stunning, dream-like flow through the innermost thoughts of a man who may be wondering, but is not entirely lost, “I like the real gypsy soul, the hard life’s not getting old” being a particularly potent and meaningful lyric that hits straight to my core, yet I couldn’t tell you exactly why.
The latter feels reminiscent of the aforementioned Damien Rice’s track ‘Amie‘, more sonically than lyrically, although one could very easily draw small similarities between the two. Both odes to love combined with observations of the world that surrounds the artist. Both stunning.
It would be fair to say that 2018 has been an absolutely incredible year for new releases so far and completely accurate to say that picking out the best of the year is going to be an incredibly tough task. Darren Jessee has just made that task even more difficult.
‘The Jane, Room 217’ deserves your time and attention and, in return, will stow a listening experience nothing short of spellbinding upon you.