Mr Jukes is best known as Jack Steadman, the lead singer of Bombay Bicycle Club. When the band briefly called it a day in 2016, he invented a new funk-driven persona that allowed him to explore a part of music that he simply couldn’t reach within the limited confines of a bouncing indie band. In turn, he got to show off his whole personality.
When Bombay Bicycle Club announced they were back together in 2019, it seemed Mr Jukes was no more. Thankfully those worries were quashed when he made his comeback earlier this year. His debut album, God First, was a voyage into uncharted sonic territories for Steadman, and he’s produced the goods again on The Locket with the effective assistance of Barney Artist.
The collaborative album oozes feel-good energy. It will prise a smile out of anyone from the moment the needle drops on the titular opening track. It gets the ceremony off to an energetic start with a fizzing rhythm guaranteed to get hips shimmying right from the off.
It feels like a record that is appropriate for now as we escape the heavy rigmarole we’ve all been through over the last eighteen months and just dive into the duo’s cheerful festivities across The Locket.
The record is a blissful way to spend half an hour, and it’ll leave you more spirited than when you began the endeavour. It’s a light album that occasionally lacks substance, although, towards the end of the record, that changes as the duo gets more emotionally charged.
Steadman’s voice is an underused tool throughout the LP. When he does use his magnetic tones, it brings another dimension to the duo’s sound and bounces off Barney Artist’s flow sensationally.
Throughout The Locket, the production is on point. It never gets challenging to listen to and is a thoroughly pleasant experience for any headphone bopper. Yet, music should be more than just lovely to hear, and it should evoke endless waves of emotion, which is where this album sometimes falls short.
The duo enjoyed a zestful time expressing themselves on the album and exploring their undeniable chemistry, which is clear for all to hear. ‘Vibrate’ steers the record back on course after early tracks ‘Poems’ and ‘Deja Vu’ allow the album to meander aimlessly.
The aforementioned track captures the designed carefree spirit of the album in all of its buoyant, effervescent charm and finds Barney laying down some exquisite home truths in the process.
On the first verse, Barney wisely notes from experience: Industry politics, be careful what you do, They’ve been keepin’ what they stealin’ from the truth, Every time you move, they want you to lose, Ain’t a game player, just a game slayer, My prayers always been clear, I’m keepin’ some in the air.”
It’s a shame that it takes so long for the album to elevate to a deeper, more spiritual level, as the second half of the record sees the pair come into their own.
Next up by the gorgeously heart-melting, ‘Autumn Leaves, and the gospel-tinged penultimate track, ‘Leave Us In Light’, provides an ample amount of soul into the album.
‘All For You’ sees Steadman take the reigns, and the glistening moment offers up a change of pace as the singer slows things down to sing about his undying appreciation for the love in his life.
The closing track, ‘Gratitude’, finishes the album on a high and ends The Locket on an optimistic note which is the overarching emotion to take from the album. Even though the duo doesn’t dig too deep underneath the surface, there’s hope waiting to be undiscovered inside The Locket.
The Locket is released on August 6th independently through Locket Records.