Jakob – Solace

Every Listen Weaves a Different Story

album review

This is a tough album to review. Whenever the topic of post rock comes up and someone asks me for albums to recommend, this tends to be one of the first five I mention. However, it’s one of the toughest to explain exactly why, and what emotions it will elicit in a listener, especially someone new to the genre. After years of listening to it, I’ve come to the conclusion that the reason for that is that it simply changes in meaning around your life as you listen to it more and more.

I know that sounds a little crazy, but I’ve seen it said before about Jakob’s Solace: they’ve managed to create something here which is crafted so meticulously, so perfectly, that it immediately just “fits” in that position in your mind which feels empty – the position we all try to fill with music. It works in almost every circumstance: moments of introspection, sadness, grief, thoughtfulness. Funnily, it’s the only album that does that perfectly even on the other side of the emotional spectrum, with elation, self-healing — hell, even joy.

What ties this all in together is the album title, which was also an excellent selection. Solace describes it: defined as TBD, it’s about finding comfort in oneself. That doesn’t mean necessarily comfort when sad; it also points at the joy you can experience when being alone with your thoughts. And that just works here.

Jakob is a band from New Zealand, and that somehow also feels apt. I visited New Zealand a few years back, and the whole trip was filled with a consistent feeling of awe and wonder: emotions tugging at your very soul at every step you take in their wonderful natural environment. If I had to pick an album which best describes that unforgettable experience, it would be this one, followed possibly by their next, equally perfect yet quite different album, Sines. Jakob truly has captured the pulse of that wonderful country they call home and translated it to a tapestry of musical emotions which is incredible to experience.

The only real danger of this album is that it blends so perfectly across tracks that it’s tough to understand where one song ends and the other begins: not because each one doesn’t have a clear intro and conclusion, but because each song is an extension of the same feeling you choose to explore when you start listening. And yet, it is anything but repetitive. Each track takes you on a different journey: if you’re feeling introspective, it’s easy to play this to help you concentrate on what you’d like to discover about yourself without it taking over. That makes it also quite easy to ignore sometimes, which is a shame: yet even if you’re deep inside your train of thought while listening, a track like Oran Mor, the fourth on the album, will snap you back momentarily into reality, but without ever disturbing your train of thought. 

I’ve found it equally easy to concentrate on complicated work tasks as it is to focus completely on listening to it. I know this review is full of metaphors, but that’s because it’s incredibly tough to nail down a proper description for this: it will mean to you something entirely different on every listen – and what that meaning is depends entirely on where you are, mentally. It’s the perfect album for listening to in the dark when you need.. well, solace.. and it’s also the perfect album to get busy executing tasks to while it soothes your mind. A track like ‘Everything all of the time’ includes the only faint hint of vocals you’ll experience throughout the album – but again, they’re so perfectly well blended that I genuinely had to read the track listing to realise there were vocals on there at all: and that’s after hundreds of listens. Yet when you hear them, you understand why you missed them, and why they were perfect the way they are. 

I think the only difficult part of listening to this is if you want to experience it with more than one person. It’s not great for group listening, purely because it works up different emotions in different people, all of the time. It might also not immediately “click” in your mind — it might take a couple of listens to appreciate properly, and that’s because of where you need to be for it to “fit”. This album feels like it changes with every listen: every time, you discover a new moment which hits you differently.

I know that’s a vague review, and every other note I’ve read on this album over the years has been similar in that describing it in words is extremely difficult. I get it though. I don’t remember when I discovered this album first: all I know is that when it appeared in my life, it never left. And it never will. It’s truly an album which gives you solace, and is worth listening to time and again: it’s the one to reach out to every time you need comfort, peace, tranquility, and a true sense of being alive in that moment. 

Rating: 10/10

Mood: Elation, Solace, Tranquility, Peace, Introspection


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One response to “Jakob – Solace”

  1. Makar Homenko Avatar
    Makar Homenko

    Solace is a wonderful album! I really really like it! But I liked the Sines album less! He’s kind of boring…
    In any case, Jacob is a great band! Thank you for your review.

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