Album Review: Jeremy Neale - We Were Trying To Make It Out

27 February 2020 | 1:00 pm | Steve Bell

"[T]he overall vibe is more succour than disconsolate."

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While Jeremy Neale’s multi-guitar, garage-rock behemoth Velociraptor is back in action after a lengthy hibernation, his solo career continues unabated with the release of second long-player We Were Trying To Make It Out.

Tracing back to a songwriting sabbatical in New York City, the album – a succinct eight tracks clocking in at under 30 minutes – displays a definite maturity in both Neale’s songwriting and his suave pop aesthetic, a new stylistic depth and emotional heft now augmenting his trademark ability to conjure hooks and melodies at will.

A definite existential streak permeates tracks like Everything I Do Is Replaced By Two, The Strength To Carry, Our Days Are Numbered and Time, as Neale attempts to reconcile the wisdom inherent in ageing with the irrefutable fact that the clock is ticking. Elsewhere Hold Me Up and Still Want You Around Me examine more romantic travails, but still hark back to bigger questions of survival amid the maelstrom of modern life.

There’s a world-weary resignation in the vocals and some weighty subject matter but it’s couched in such an upbeat setting that the overall vibe is more succour than disconsolate, with making the best of our situation all we can really aspire to.