Album Review: Jingo ‘Make Some Money, Buy Some Love’
‘Make Some Money, Buy Some Love’ is London band Jingo’s third major work. Right, I’m not going to mess about here. I love this album.
Ascerbic lyrics, a different atmosphere in every song, impassioned performance, musical virtuosity, creative writing, ticking box after box.
Lead vocalist Katie Buckett brings her American influence to the stage. She also designed the band’s artwork. She sings with passion, yet with a teasingly deft touch. Depending where the inventive lyrics take her, at times, she can sound truly appalled at the concepts she exposes, while at others she coaxes you in, to whisper some hackle-raising truth.
But Katie is decidedly not the only talent here. Musical virtuosity is very much in evidence, not just in the playing, but in the choosing what to play. Nuggets of intricacy on a solid bed of rhythmic style. Nor is there any shortage of poetry in the lyrics.
Opening the album, ‘Lifer’ is an adept condemnation of the idea of spending one’s life in the pursuit of money for its own sake. The purpose of money, once gained, should be to buy love – and thus we have established the album’s core message. As with most of the tracks on the album, musically it does not just pick a main stream to follow, but also explores various tributaries along the way. It finishes on a 7th chord, a classical device of musical suspense; just to show that although the song may have come to an end, the story it tells is not done with you just yet.
‘Sirens and Vices’ is a treatise of powerful, driving rock, but true to the spirit of the album, it too changes unpredictably. More than one verse structure is used; then later, it quietens to another, using plucked guitar chords, where I felt I perhaps detected a hint of the influence of Muse, in note pairings and style. But there’s no suggestion of plagiarism – Jingo’s style is very much its own.
As the album progresses, it becomes increasingly difficult to pigeonhole that style. Lyrically speaking, the third track, ‘Money’ carries on with the philosophy established by the previous tracks and explores it further. There is a whiff of Joe Jackson in the jazz guitar opening. Shifts in time signature add elements of surprise. Three distinct melodies feature, shades of No Doubt in the quieter of these, with that soon resolving to rock ‘n’ roll piano and a pleasantly bluesy, syncopated guitar solo, finishing in the middle of the chord sequence just to wrong foot the listener again.
Gaia opens with background rhetoric from David Cameron and Donald Trump. Money is revealed as the means of keeping the population under control and doing as they’re told. You don’t realise this is being done to you because you “Can’t feel the lie in your billfold”. Another shift in rhythm, before the introduction of strings adds an epic quality. The accusation is levelled that the guilty will “Choose the death of a planet every time,” as the instrumentation changes again. “The more I love the more I’ve got to lose”, Katie tells us. Meanwhile, a cloud of desperation threatens – “Gaia stayed in bed… it’s the kind of love you feel when you’re on you’re own”.
‘Never Love Again’ survives a failed relationship, expressing a range of emotions through not just the lyrics but the musical flexibility. In ‘Sweet Anne’, this flexibility really explores its scope, swinging from jazz almost to Prog Rock.
‘Supersymmetry’ anthemically wonders what we, or you are holding out for. Now there’s a song in need of a big, live audience.
‘The Shell’ starts unaccompanied and swells to the finale that is its role on this wonderful album. “There are those who push their fingers through this shell of a world and make a hole to look out through. And they stare out with naked eyes at the cinders of the world knowing too much besides.” This is soul. It ends on a hopeful tone, descending to a rolling alternative verse where the shell may be broken.
I could go on like this, Every song – and they are songs, make no mistake – is packed with emotion, surprises, misdirection, and resolution. Sheer craft and attention to detail are everywhere. There are references to rock and jazz, and the influences of earlier creatives can be heard throughout. But despite all these influences, there is no cliché anywhere on the album. At times it’s musically rocky and fun. Lyrically – well, no, it’s not always comfortable and reassuring; but then that’s what true art is for, to challenge our status quo and upset our world view now and again, to teach us we’ll survive.