EP Review: JORDAN HERBERT – “Just Recently”

Jordan Herbert is a talented, soulful young singer/songwriter from Northampton, UK. In 2016, Jordan’s released his debut EP Roots to wide acclaim, reaching #6 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter charts. Throughout the rest of the year, Jordan and his five-piece band, which includes musicians Harley-Joe Arnold, Jason Smith, Sam Thorne and Tony Young, toured extensively throughout the UK to promote the EP and build a fan base. In February, Jordan released a follow-up EP Just Recently through Spoilt Brat Records (what a great name for a label!) and it’s brilliant and beautiful.

Jordan Herbert

The four-track EP showcases Jordan’s abilities as both a superb wordsmith and vocalist, not to mention the great musicianship of his band. The title track “Just Recently” kicks things off in a big way with exuberant jazzy guitars, funky bass and a healthy dose of drums and crashing cymbals. Jordan vocals are captivating as he passionately croons the hopeful lyrics:

The way it’s looking now, I’ve been running around, chasing dreams I know that just can’t come true. And I’ve been running around and puttin’ it down, makin’ a sound, standing around with my head in the clouds, I was screaming it loud and I hope you can scream it too. Just recently I’ve, got it stuck in my mind, and I cant let go no no, it’s playing games in my mind.”

Next up is the sublime “How Could You” – to my ears is as close to perfection as a song can be. Floating above what sounds like an extended organ riff with snare drum are delicate guitars of varying texture and nuance, accompanied by Jordan’s intoxicating vocals that reach in and grab hold of your soul. This song is gorgeous. With pain in his voice, he sings:

How could you still end up getting it wrong, movin’ along without you. See lately, I’ve been thinking about you lately. Is there something that can save me? ‘Cause I’m done and I’ve quit foolin’ around.”

The pace quickens at around four minutes, with a flourish of guitars and vocals that are at once both sad and beautiful. The video for the song is fantastic. Shot in black and white and directed, produced and edited by Pete Cobbe, the video shows Jordan singing the song with his guitarist playing beside him in front of a black background. They’re the only things visible, conveying a poignant sense of aloneness.

Don’t You Worry” brings a return to the upbeat jazzy vibe of the first track, with an irresistible groove and funky guitar riffs. This song is just begging to be performed in a nightclub! Things take a more serious turn on the lovely folk-infused ballad “You,” a bittersweet song about trying to hold on to a relationship that’s falling apart. “When you feel like you’re not strong, just know that I’ll keep on holding on. When I’m fallin’ I keep calling I can’t get through.

Just Recently is a terrific EP, and I give it two big thumbs up! Every song is wonderful, and with only four songs, it leaves me wanting more. Guess I’ll have to wait for Jordan’s next release.

Connect with Jordan: Facebook /  Twitter  /  Instagram

Stream his music on Spotify  and purchase on iTunes or Amazon

Artist Spotlight – The Condriacs

It’s back to the UK for a spotlight on The Condriacs, a singer/songwriting duo from Essex who make some really fine folk-pop music. The Condriacs are close friends Peter Spicer and Tony Slaven, who began writing songs together a couple of years ago, but decided to take their music more seriously in late 2015, when they began recording tracks. Spicer, who’s been making music since he was 14, plays guitar, while Slaven vocalizes their beautiful, compelling lyrics. As the guys explained in an interview with Michelle Ward on Brentwood, Essex radio station Phoenix 98FM in April 2016, they love great lyrics, especially by some of their favorite songwriters Chris Stapleton, Billy Joel and James Taylor, from whom they draw inspiration in penning their own exceptional lyrics. As for their interesting name, their wives came up with that moniker.

The Condriacs have recorded a number of songs, and are working toward producing a full -length album as time and funds permit. Spicer told me it’s a painfully slow process, but so far, they have five songs that will be on their debut album, and they’re working on two more they hope to record in the coming month. Their well-crafted songs are soothing, yet maintain enough of an edgy quality to keep from sounding too pop.

“When You’re Gone” is a lovely but sad ballad that speaks to the heartache and loneliness resulting from a lost love. With strong vulnerability in his vocals, Slaven laments “All I want is just another moment, a minute when I can feel your love. I wanna spend a whole day with you, really. How can I love you baby when you’re gone?”  Spicer’s smooth guitar and the accompanying piano, violin and gentle drums beautifully complement Slaven’s heartfelt vocals, which at times remind me of fellow Brit Rod Stewart.

The gorgeous “Devil’s Mist” is a standout track and my personal favorite. The first few opening musical notes can make or break a song for me, and in “Devil’s Mist” they’re positively captivating. The song’s arrangement and rich instrumentation are perfect from start to finish. Lyrically, the song is about hurt and betrayal over a failed relationship, and such powerful words they are:

“Raging nights, rumbling skies, lighting strikes me, I’m paralyzed. War with words that really hurt. We’ve just dragged up the past and dirt. When that red mist covers me, have to set that devil free. The open road where the air is free, brings me back to you. Why do you leave me in the pouring rain? Always running, never take the blame? I assume you’re OK, ’cause I’ve lost my rage.”

“I’ll Take it All” is a beguiling, upbeat song about life, love and hope. The track was just released as a single in Asia in August.

Another standout is “Run Run Run.” This remix has bit more synth-heavy vibe than the other tracks.

Here’s a lovely acoustic performance of the tender ballad “Can’t You See.” It really showcases the guys’ warmth and authenticity, not to mention Slaven’s wonderful a capella vocals.

I look forward to hearing what these fellows come up with next. Show them support by following on Twitter, liking on Facebook and subscribing to their YouTube channel.  They do not yet have music available for purchase, but it can be streamed on Soundcloud.