Seven years have passed since Jogging’s stellar second album ‘Take Courage’ and with such lofty standards set by their previous work, expectations were set high for ‘Whole Heart’. Seven years is a long time, especially in the music business and during those years Jogging have replaced their long standing drummer, Peter Lee, with Gerard Mangan and the new incumbent keeps up the fine tradition of battering the crap out of the kit.
The interplay of vocals between Ronan Jackson and Darren Craig is still as invigorating as ever. The songs bristle with vibrancy with enough jagged edges to stop them from ever veering into predictability. The time away has saw them hone their songwriting skills to create a set of tracks with no excess or elements that feel superfluous. Standout songs such as Disappearing Act and Fail Together immediately grab your attention. Truth be told their isn’t a weak track on the entire album.
After three albums Darren Craig can still conjure up golden riffs that chop and change with ease. The bass hurtles with the necessary brevity and menace. The production is much rawer than on previous releases giving the distinct elements more provenance throughout. This leaves little room for error, if any element of the three-pronged attack of drums/ guitar/bass goes slightly askew But for Jogging it comes across as a strength.
Fleeceflower is a great example of this, it’s opening guitar and drum-lines weave individually interesting patterns which over repeated listens lead the ear to discover something new as it learmns to follow the various strands.
Across ‘Whole Heart’, Jogging detail the daily grind that we all go through just to make ends meet to great effect. It’s encapsulated in lines such as “A better life is out there, so grab it / all it takes is 12 more payments” on Fleeceflower and “Try not to lose control / It seems like one mistake can turn a lifetime’s work to catastrophe” on Loggerheads.
Jogging have lost none of their ability to craft thrilling, urgent music and ‘Whole Heart’ stands amongst the best Irish albums released in 2019.