Daniel Blake – “Jakarta” (EP)
Los Angeles based artist Daniel Blake releases his new EP, “Jakarta”, today, the culmination of a years work and a perfect blend of indie-pop, acoustic melodies and open, heartfelt lyrics. The EP follows his debut, “Circle Mountain” in 2018 and sees Daniel look into human emotions and human life itself. “Heartbreaker” opens this five track collection and was written as a tribute to one of Daniel’s heros, the late Tom Petty. The song has a real cinematic quality about it as well as touching lyrics and vocals with a gentle beat and piano, played by Bill Lefler. The track sets the scene for what is to yet come, but one which deserves returning to more than once.
Daniel takes influence from a number of artists including David Gray and Dido, who Daniel recorded his own version of her hit single “Here With Me” in 2019. The second track, “Goin’ Home” has echoes of another Dido hit, “Don’t Leave Home”, certainly in the verses as the song celebrates getting back to the people who make you who you are. And that’s never more relevant than in 2021, after what we have all been through. Daniel conveys this simply against a simple backdrop. And that’s all that is needed.
The title track of the EP deals with the fate of a sinking relationship, the mirror of the world’s fastest sinking city of its title. Daniel’s often angelic and sober vocals portray the decline of the former using the latter as reference with the backing of his guitar and the bare minimum of acoustics at add more poignancy to the song’s theme. A song full of open atmosphere and beauty.
As Daniel develops and grows with confidence, so his music does and you will have already gained an appreciation of that with the first three tracks. “Where’d You Go?”, the fourth, takes reference from many Amy Grant songs of the late 80’s-early 90’s, melancholy and with an innocent charm, the song details a failed relationship from two different perspectives. From one person who clearly drinks so much they let the relationship go cold while the other strives to keep a happy home only to find they are not with the person they thought they should be. Sound familiar…?
Daniel says that “’Freeway’ was inspired by the trailer parks I would see on my long drives back to Phoenix. For two young lovers in a small town who want nothing more than to get away, the freeway becomes a symbol of freedom and hope”. He conveys this and in doing so comes full circle with the EP, relaying that as they drive, Tom Petty is playing on the radio. The sound, the familiarity, the intimacy. As the song fades away, eerily, almost taking forever, it causes the listener to consider and think about who we are and where we are going. To grab the moment if it feels right and to just run with it.
Daniel has really taken his creativity to new heights with this outstanding collection of songs that deserve our full attention. The minimalistic production in itself is the maximum that is required for each recording, centring on the bubble or the wide open space you are in when allowing each harmony and sound, together with Daniel’s voice to seep into every pore of your skin and your mind. This is pure escapist bliss that will ease you, sooth you and move you. Ahh…