Jacob Jeffries Band - Tell Me Secrets
Record Label: Boom Boom 88 Music
Release Date: May 18, 2012
South Florida is about the last place one would expect to find music like this. But sure enough, the piano-based trio Jacob Jeffries Band have crafted a Laurel Canyon-inspired offering that ranks as one of the year's most welcome surprises. On album opener "Worth the Wait," the trio channels Gavin DeGraw's innate piano-pop sense and partners that with Dawes' 70s rock stylings. That latter trait is one revisited time and again on Tell Me Secrets, the band's fourth studio release.
While the LP has many high moments, few are as infectious and memorable as the rollicking kiss-off "I Don't Know." There's something free-wheeling, care-free and undeniably moving about each passing second and its charms are far too pleasing to pass up.
The trio goes back to straightforward piano-pop on the sweeping "Crazy Under the Moon," and the entire effort sounds radio-ready, polished and destined for arenas. The album's first ballad "Over and Past," employs the use of horns, as well as Jefferies unshakable vocals and goes back to that Laurel Canyon vibe from "I Don't Know." Tell Me Secrets' first half ends with the bluesy "Believer," a six-minute jaunt that draws on dazzling guitar work, confident verses and some great piano runs.
The second portion of the disc unravels with the timeless "Coming Home," and the supple "Struggle," before kicking it back to the 1970s with "You've Got Some Nerve." Their youthful energy and effortlessness sounds best when they enter into this realm and its a shame the entire album couldn't have been constructed like this. The trio revisits the piano-pop playbook on the straightforward "Suffocate," which doesn't do much to bolster the album, but doesn't exactly allow it to fall asunder either. Even with the addition of horns at the 2:30 mark, the song still feels superfluous. Maybe it should have been placed earlier on the album, but at this point on the disc it just fees banal.
The disc ends with "Ancestors," a true show-stopper that goes back to the free-wheeling, care-free nature of "I Don't Know," and "Worth the Wait." And therein lies the problem with Tell Me Secrets. The band seems to vacillate between radio-ready pop-rock and 1970s album rock far too frequently. For all its merits, a song like "Crazy Under the Moon," feels lost and misplaced alongside tracks like "You've Got Some Nerve," "Ancestors," and "I Don't Know."
Regardless of this writer's opinion, the bottom line is the Fort Lauderdale trio is crazy talented and boasts a vocalist with a strong set of lungs and a hearty croon. Being that this is just the beginning, it feels almost certain that given the right amount of time, this trio just might explode onto the mainstream and shake the foundation of Top 40 radio. Even with its missteps, Tell Me Secrets definitely proves exactly that.