The more astute among you might have already drawn comparisons between newcomer Jay Thackery and Frank Turner based solely on the former’s logo and its similarity to the latter’s FTHC cross. However, as soon as ‘The Rehab Diaries’ starts playing, it becomes apparent that it is not just Jay Thackery’s logo that is inspired by Frank Turner. Both men have that particular punk-folk vibe that’s surprisingly difficult to put your finger on beside the fact they’re both artists whose music is propelled by an acoustic guitar and bard-esque lyrics, while encased in DIY-type production.
There is also a strong personal element to Thackery’s music. Some purist critics might argue that a quickof an artist’s life is unnecessary in a piece of writing that should be all about the immediate response; a kind of musical equivalent of the la mort de l’auteur. With Jay Thackery’s ‘The Rehab Diaries’, however, the music is irrevocably welded to the trajectory of his life experience so far: his experience of drug abuse, mental health issues, suicide and self-harm.
Now, every artist currently making music (don’t be pedantic and come at me with exceptions, I’m sure there are some) will profess that their music reflects their inner most thoughts, feelings, desires, life-events etcetera, so Jay Thackery certainly isn’t unique in this sense. but the down-to-earth quality to his quality smacks of the realism that made Frank Turner and Ed Sheeran’s early music so endearing. The kind of ‘the night I had my first kiss, we sat up for hours at the local park smoking Cutter’s Choice and swigging from a bottle of Glenn’s before getting chips and gravy from the kebabby’ anecdotes that resonate with audiences in their mid-twenties.
Several of his songs on the EP ‘The Rehab Diaries’ also contain rap portions, further drawing comparisons with early Sheeran tracks like You Need Me, I Don’t Need You’ and ‘One Night’. His flow is competent with occasional flashes of brilliance, for example when he quips in ‘The Fall’, ‘I’m repping number 27 like a rock star, roll the dice’, as a reference to the mythic ’27 Club’. The fact that all of this in transmitted in a thick Lancashire accent only serves to make the overall package more endearing.
So if you’re a fan of folk-punk, or indeed of brooding, sensitive men with guitars, be sure to check out Jay Thackery.