Mon. May 27th, 2024

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Album Review: Jake Bellows – New Ocean

3 min read

I have to admit, I’d never heard of Jake Bellows before listening to this album. But that’s not very surprising considering I’ve lived almost my entire life in Sydney, Australia and Bellows was, until recently, based in Omaha, Nebraska. What is perhaps surprising though is that I’d never heard of his former band, Neva Dinova; a band that was together for more than 15 years, touring the world as a headline act and in support of hugely successful bands such as Death Cab For Cutie and Rilo Kiley.

JakeBellowsNewOceanNeva Dinova was named after Bellows’ (the group’s guitarist, lead singer, and songwriter) grandmother, and released three full length albums between 2002 and 2008, before the band headed their separate ways. Their music was hard to define, a mix of folk, psychadelia, rock, acoustic and country, and, not surprisingly, Jake Bellows debut solo album, New Ocean, is much the same (though perhaps without the psychadelia and with a little more folk and rock mixed in).

The subject matter of his songs seems to have changed though. Whereas a lot of Neva Dinova’s music was fairly dark and often pessimistic, Bellows seems to have changed his outlook on life, letting go of whatever it was that was weighing him down. With lyrics such as “let’s lower down the ropes and let our brothers in, give my body to the fish so they don’t starve,” (in the albums title track, New Ocean) the album has a sense of newfound relaxation and acceptance of the world and what life brings.

Bellow’s music has taken on a similar tone, being, on the whole, far more chilled out than Neva Dinova’s albums. New Ocean opens the album, a very simple song that consists almost entirely of a strummed electric guitar, simple, stripped back vocals, and some drums here and there. It’s an uplifting song, about taking life as it comes and accepting what you cannot change, and sets the tone for the album. We’re then taken through songs that range from rock, such as All Right Now and Running From Your Love, to lazy country inspired, such as Drinking With Dad and Help, and there’s even a happy little love song, I Knew You.

On the whole, New Ocean is a great debut album. You probably won’t remember it in a few years, but for now it’s fun, it’s relaxed, and it’s uplifting; the kind of album you’d want to listen to sitting on the porch in the summertime, drinking a cider and watching the sun set. Having appeared at this year’s South By Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas (an annual gathering of fresh musical, film, and interactive talent and industry heads that has launched the careers of some huge names, such as John Mayer and James Blunt), we are sure to see great things come of this Omaha native.

Buy ‘Jake Bellows – New Ocean’ from Amazon