Here's what other people say about us............
Marrs Bar, 2016
Jack Of All...uniting punky acoustic strums from frontman Laurence Aldridge and the folky flights of fancy of violinist Anna Mcloughlin, who together, create punchy laments and biting songs of social commentary with often rousing hooks and infectious melodies, with the likes of Definitions, All About The Money and The Others all finding affinity with the assembled, winning over a number of new fans (this reviewer included!!)
Jinney Ring Folk Fest, 2016...
Malvern based duo 'Jack Of All' with Laurence on guitar and vocals and Anna on fiddle, bring their punk/folk polemic to the growing numbers of listeners. There seems to be an endless stream of crises, putting ink in the pen to produce political protestations and social comment. ‘Setting Fires' was inspired by Victor Jara, an early Pinochet victim in Chile. Thefund-raising ‘The Others' followed on, a call for support of the many migrants risking their lives to reach safe shores. A lighter note to close on as a Tears For Fears cover, nicely fiddled up by Anna, for Laurence to sing; its all a bit of a 'MadWorld'.
"...Can’t recommend this enough...."
The Jack Of All sound is of classic English folk but with a few punky chunks added. You can make out obvious influences coming from bands as diverse as Ferocious Dog, New Model Army, Billy Bragg and The Levellers but Jack Of All follow no-one. The first thing that strikes you on listening to the EP is Laurence’s vocals and and how good they actually are. You can forget sometimes that in a genre where Shane MacGowan is king it is actually possible to still sing ‘properly’ and also fit in. Added to this is Anna’s superb fiddle playing and the concoction is pretty sweet. Nothing too manic here and its possibly stretching things by calling it punk but the spirit is there and the spirit is willing. They play mostly original material and I’m sure they would make a fortune if they decided to go the ‘pub route’ but with Laurence being a professional actor and Anna an ethical jeweller they can happily steer clear of that route and go their own way. Thank God I say! The EP’s name was I thought a odd one so I looked it up and came up with
‘a hobo or derelict hired to do rough or unpleasant work’
which seems to fit Jack Of All pretty nicely. I mean even though there’s no Tom Waits style growling its still very much the music of outlaws and vagabonds. They have some pretty amazing lyrics too and by the sound of them they fit in ever so nicely with ourselves, with a sample from Paul Kenny, head of the GMB Union talking to Mark Thomas, the icing on the cake!
The EP starts off with ‘Definitions’ and a bit of celtic sounding fiddle and the tempo is up and Jack Of All are off. From the very start Jack Of All let you know where they stand. Even though they are usually a 2-piece band the added drums on this EP give them a extra bit of bite. ‘Home’ follows and begins acapella style
“if home is where the heart is why is my heart not home”
before it becomes a folky-celticy-rockabilly number and as catchy a chorus as I heard in a long time. A guaranteed foot tapper. ‘Thank You For Your Application’ is the EP’s slowest track but stills keeps up that God-damn catchiness! With ‘Home’ and now this one my foot is going like the bloody clappers! Beginning slow the song builds to a crescendo and what I originally thought was an electric guitar, but turns out to be Anna’s electric violin through a distortion pedal, coming in is a great move. Simply brilliant. ‘On Top Of The Hills’ continues and is still more of the same but how are they keeping up the quality. Absolutely impossible to pick a stand out track as the whole EP is fantastic. If we did marks out of ten it would be 10/10 all round. The final track is ‘All About The Money’ and it reminded me a bit of 50’s style crooning Germans The Baseballs but was a great way to end the EP. Capitalism is a disease and Jack Of All know the cure… They funded the EP themselves through the Pledge music web-site and of each sale 10% goes to charity through Parkinson’s UK, which is the charity which helped the late father of Laurence while he suffered from a life-threatening illness. So there you have a great EP and a chance to help others too so don’t delay! Over twenty minutes and every song is a strong self-penned number well worth your measly few quid. When you do reviews one of the words you find yourself using the most (if you’re lucky) is ‘catchy’. I’m sick of the fecking word but sometimes it explains everything. This EP has it all catchy songs, expertly played fiddle and great vocals and lyrics and all without being over produced. I reckon this EP has captured Jack Of All’s live sound so be sure to catch them somewhere soon. Can’t recommend this enough.
London Celtic Punks, Jul 2015
"...a soaring and melodic slice of escapism..."
Whilst the name 'Jack of all' hints at an incompleteness the band and its music are far from incomplete. The music
does indeed show mastery in the trade of socially and politically aware contemporary folk music. Bindle Punk is the brilliant debut EP from the Malvern based band and features five
memorable and lasting earworms. The opening track 'Definitions' takes a stab at banks and politicians with a chorus melody line which slides up and away from the
Yiddish cadence of the verse before; here, we're shaming Shylock with Shakespeare and bringing, the money lenders down several pegs at a time.
In keeping with the bittersweet rise and fall theme established by the first track 'Home' is social commentary at its finest - an anthem for the lonely in an uncaring world. 'Thank You for Your Application' kicks out yet again at a system which fails those whose forefathers did so much to establish and better it. It is pleasantly quirky, as if to stand in steadfast defiance in the face of the onslaught of ill fortune which gave rise to its lyrical content.
My personal favourite track from this EP is 'On Top of the Hills' - a soaring and melodic slice of escapism. The acoustic guitar batters the prison-like city into submission while the violin lifts the listener to ever greater heights to join Jack Of All in celebratory flight far away from it all. Just great! The closer 'All About the Money' does exactly what it says on the bindle. We are left with no doubts about this band's musical pedigree and socio-political standpoint. Perhaps this final song gives us a taster of the future of Jack of All - more calculated tragic-comic battery of a world which doesn't deserve them. Who knows?
Adam Broadhurst (Under A Banner) 15/11/14
Got the CD last week – listened to it twice back to back – loved it. Real echoes of Crowded House and Show of Hands – you and Anna are very talented – thank you for all your hard work in getting it off the ground – you deserve some great plaudits and gigs.
Maddy Kerr (Executive Director, Heartbreak Productions)