There is as the saying goes, no accounting for taste. And the music the Sussex, New Brunswick duo Jake & Hannah make is not anything I would seek out to listen to on my own. But the job of the honest music reviewer has nothing to do with taste in music. It has to do with ones take on the technical ability of the music one is given to review and how well that music represents the genre or genres it is working within. In the case of Jake & Hannah the genre in question is acoustic folk pop. And from the beginning straight through to the end of the slim five-song EP Sing for Me, the Canadian duo do not disappoint.
Sing for Me is the result of a year and a half of the pair playing together, though in that short span they’ve managed to create songs that sound to be the result of a longer residency. For folk-pop, as simple as it would seem to make, as simple perhaps as the two words which make up the genre’s name, I have come to find can be easily messed up, mostly due in part to the fact that many who attempt to make folk pop fail to infuse it with what it takes to succeed; heart.
And one hears this heart from the very beginning of Sing for Me. The lovely opening title track, “Sing for Me” begins with a scrappy ukulele riff and Hannah Cummings’ bright and crisp vocals. As the track builds it takes on piano, a fluttering of drums and Jake Freeze’s vocals, which wrap around Cummings’ and help to accentuate them even further.
This vocal mixture is even more prominent on the borderline alt-country ballad “Hold On,” which is driven by rippling piano and crisp acoustic guitar. The piano continues to ripple on the inspiring power pop balladry of “Dreamer.” Closing out Sing for Me is the finger picked acoustic beauty of “Come Away.”
The songs on Sing for Me exist like a musical sunset. Each time one listens to them they are beautiful, though each time they are beautiful in a different way. There is plenty of talent in the world, but talent only goes so far and only lasts so long. The songs of Jake & Hannah have heart, and that is something that is earned and ingrained. And heart is what makes music last.
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