Jake George – Drive All Night

 Jake George – Drive All Night

Jake George – Drive All Night – Album Review

Well heck – this dude right here is becoming one of the more reliable artists out there in the scene for makin’ music at a fairly rapid pace, with highly reliable quality.  Honestly, it feels like it was just last year that we had Jake George on our pages…and much to his credit, I’d suppose that’s an indication of how fresh his record Clear View still is in my mind.  Any time I want to, I can close my eyes and hear the hooks of a song he wrote called “Investigators” that was on it…that’s how much of an impact that one track made on me when I was checking out Clear View in 2020…and it catapulted the man into his own unforgettable status in my mind, locked away in the vault of my memory for the rest of my lifetime.  I COULD close my eyes and recall that tune if I wanted to…but to be truthful, my ears still work plenty good…I much prefer to simply reach over into the files of my archives, click it, and turn it the fuck on UP!

Anyhow.  We’re talking about a whole new record today – Drive All Night is out & available now, and you betcha – it’s well worth your time.  I dig the start of it…”Everything You’ve Wished For” is a solid cut to start things off, giving you something reliable to listen to, without giving nearly 1/10th of the story away in my opinion.  Or 1/11th in this instance, as it were…you get the point.  All-in-all, I think Jake’s got enough great things happening on the surface to mask over a bit of the weirdness layered in underneath…some of which…I’ll be honest with ya…seemed either a tad unnecessary, or just less purposeful in the song overall.  The real issue is that there IS a lot going on here…so much that most people would probably never even notice the parts I’m referring to…it simply sounds like ‘more song’ to most folks – and that’s where Jake comes out with an undisputed win here as a result, because the main meat of “Everything You’ve Wished For” is tasty for sure…it’s the side dishes that seem like an odd pairing.  Like, for example – take a listen around the 1:10-1:30 mark closer than how you normally listen to music and you’ll hear what I’m talking about.  George ain’t making an awful choice here…no…it’s not anything nearly that detrimental – but there is an argument that there are pieces of “Everything You’ve Wished For” that don’t entirely serve the song, or work more jarringly against the smoothness of the rest of the grain.  All that being said, I did feel like “Everything You’ve Wished For” still managed to hit the peak for what it could potentially be – it’s a good start…I’m not about to go handing Jake the hardware for this first cut, but I’ve still got my volume up loud & proud, ready for whatever comes next.  Having had the advantage of multiple spins through Drive All Night by now, I can vouch that the material gets stronger from here.

The man’s just a gifted artist, that’s the reality…and it’s been a pleasure to listen to his music evolve over the past several years.  From my initial experience with his Heart EP in 2019, to the brilliance of Clear View in 2020, to this new record Drive All Night in 2022…I mean…the man is makin’ giant leaps in his own evolution and it’s been fantastic to listen to.  LISTEN to a track like “Kings And Queens” and you’ll get what I mean right away – Jake’s dialed in right now…and as good as this album may be and IS – I’d still be willing to bet he’s about to surge straight into his most productive and incredible years ahead.  Similarly to how Clear View was presented to us, Drive All Night works in a comparable way in the sense that, track two is going to be one of the cuts that makes the biggest impression on ya – “Kings And Queens” isn’t quite “Investigators” to me in terms of the hooks & all, but in terms of the performance, very much so.  I’ll talk about the gears of Jake George later on down the road once we’ve got a few more examples of what’s happening on this record out in the open & discussed first, but rest assured – the gear that he’s in on “Kings And Queens” would be the one I’d probably be the most apt to encourage.  Jake’s got a great voice…he’s one heck of a musician too, but that part I think rings true for everyone no matter what song you listen to – when it comes to his vocals, some of these cuts he writes gives him more of an opportunity to make an impression on ya, and this would be one of’em.  The way the guitars sparkle & shine at the beginning is brilliant – the solo at the end is pretty much mind-blowing by its very definition…the building of the song is great, the payoff is there…the energy is fantastic, the hooks are strong…”Kings And Queens” is definitely one of the record’s more universally accessible tracks for sure.

George knows how to work the magic of a rhythmic riff, both from the bass and from the guitar when it comes right down to it…and combined with drums that are equally steady & reliable – this dude JAMS, and the music is ALWAYS guaranteed to catch your attention.  He uses incredibly killer tones that seem designed to slide straight through your speakers on into your ears – and when he’s delivering at his best in his vocals as well, it’s pretty much a good-game scenario…he’s a tough one to resist when firing on all cylinders and I ain’t gonna be the guy inclined to try.  I love what he’s come up with on “She’s All I Need” and his use of both straight-ahead vocals, in addition to singing with more noticeable heavy filters or effects on his voice too.  He makes music that’s not only soundly in his wheelhouse, but really smartly designed too…it’s almost fair to say that we feel it as much as the man creating it does as a result of the choices he makes.  That being said, I don’t know if any of us are lucky enough to feel the attachment to the craft and the desire to make music as much as Jake George has that goin’ on in his favor – you can’t listen to a track like “She’s All I Need” and not feel the vibe of creativity & inspiration buzzin’ on through his amplifiers, and our speakers, collectively.  I dig songs like this one…not always, but when they’re done right, it can be seriously effective – like…I wouldn’t say there’s any ONE specific hook in this track that makes it a genuine standout…this is the kind of cut that is ALL hook, you dig?  It’s a moment…a song that plays like a singular entity unto itself…it doesn’t need to do anything other than exactly what it’s doin’ to keep us fully captivated and engaged.  There’s risk with this kind of writing, but it pays off here.

“Your Ghost” has a whole lot goin’ on that works really well.  It was right around here where I felt myself wondering how much Incubus and Minus The Bear the guy listens to…and I figure based on what I hear in this one song alone, it’s gotta be at least a lil’ substantial.  This cut’s got that same smart mix of Alternative/Soul to it, you know what I mean?  The most you’ll find me conceding to ya is that there’s a chance this track might have a little less for the average everyday listener to hold on to throughout the verses…maybe…but it’s definitely got enough to keep me interested and engaged.  Love the sound of the snare in this tune as well…if anything, I might have brought that up just a little for a bit more POP in the mix, simply because it’s got that amazing tin-can sound I love so much from like…the early Our Lady Peace records…that kind of all-out stellar sound.  Chorus-wise, I felt like the hooks of “Your Ghost” would have just about anyone on board…even if you weren’t as sure about this fourth cut as you were about the first three, I feel like if you make it to the chorus – and let’s be real, you will – you’ll be more that stoked you continued to stick around and listen further to Drive All Night.  Jake’s got some great moments in his vocals on this track as well…real highlight stuff in the mix here, though more subtle on the mic than we’ve heard so far…but emboldened with confidence from the strength in the material.  Took me forever to figure out what his guitars in this track reminded me of so much, but I eventually tracked it down – it’s the Chili Peppers.  Not JUST the Chili Peppers, but perhaps my favorite lineup of the Chili Peppers – the one with Dave Navarro on guitars.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t a matter of that record having better songs…I’m talkin’ guitar-wise specifically – the tones Navarro got outta his guitar were beyond godly on that album, and in my opinion, made the most out of what could have been mediocre material perhaps otherwise.  I am ALWAYS a fan of Navarro’s guitar…in RHCP, solo, in Jane’s Addiction, in Panic Channel, as a featured guest on other cuts – but that One Hot Minute record is the only record I can think of where he got sounds outta his axe similar to what Jake gets on “Your Ghost.”  Anyhow.  Obviously you can tell I’m jazzed about it – “Your Ghost” is worth the full price of admission.

When I got to “When You Go Away” on my first spin through this record, I felt like I couldn’t ignore making a comment on the consistency of what Jake’s creating any further…because these are seriously quality tunes y’all.  Now…it’s in saying that, that I recognize of the first five, “When You Go Away” might even slip another two or three degrees further away from the highest points of accessibility presented at the start of Drive All Night – but what I found extremely impressive was the fact that, two or three degrees certainly ain’t all that much!  Jake continues to put quality ideas and musicianship through your speakers – so when I was listening to “When You Go Away” for the first time, and hearing that George had dialed back the energy just a bit more…I kind of thought to myself that, this is quite likely going to be one of the cuts that’s going to be towards the bottom of my list of favorites on this album, and it’s still an A-SIDE on most records, you feel me?  What I do like about this particular track is that it might be one of the only I could point to that I felt like Jake’s vocal hooks outshined the ones you’ll find in the music.  He lights up a solo at the very end of “When You Go Away” as well…like…in the very final seconds – it’s wildly effective, and you’ll want a whole lot more of that for sure – so don’t leave me hangin’ here folks…if we’re gonna GET more of that in his songs, it’s gonna need to be more than just ME giving him encouragement in that direction.  Suffice it to say, any time he wants to extend a track by another minute or so & put those frets to work, I’ll be here for it every time…Jake’s musicianship is aces.

“Get You Ready” restores that accessible spark and inspired, adventurous, interested, and engaged vibe you love from Jake…in fact, there’s a chance he might even have out-written himself in terms of what we hear in the verse compared to the chorus on this particular tune.  At least that’s what it was like for me to listen to – I’m not opposed to the chorus, it works well enough – but it’s actually the verses, the lyricism, and the surrounding instrumentation outside of what most of ya would consider to be the main hooks of this cut that had me listening most intently.  He locks onto some really solid vocal hooks in the middle of his new record – and “Get You Ready” contains quite the powerful story in the lyricism if you’re listening to it closely as well.  Add in those brilliantly searing guitar tones for a short solo (which again…should be longer bro!) and the cleverness of the piano in the background (which can definitely be featured/turned up a bit more too) – “Get You Ready” isn’t your typical single, but it does have much of the same potential when you realize how memorable it becomes long after you’ve stopped playing it.  I really like the level of punch & energy he puts into the way he sings the pre-chorus…that’s the part that probably takes root in our ears the most.  While I’d love to say that’s coincidence and just great writing – it IS that, but also combined with a performance on the mic that warrants/deserves our attention too.

If anything, you can tell that Jake George possesses a couple of main gears, and quite likely, the main one is actually pretty chilled out.  I listen to a track like “Warrior” and I have my moments where I want him to find that second gear vocally…but by that same token, I also appreciate that he’s got a complete understanding of what his strengths are as well, and remains in the pocket of what he does best.  But have a listen to like…that spot around the 2:15-2:20 mark…I’m just saying he can push it a bit further in that particular direction if he wants to, and he’d quite likely be just as stoked about the results as we would be.  It’ll help his tunes rise from being somewhat even across the board, to having that noticeable spark that separates a verse & chorus from the microphone just as much as what we hear in the music.  Don’t get me wrong…if you’re listening closely, it’s easy to hear where one part starts, another begins etc. – but it’s not us close-listeners that I’m worried about, it’s the rest of ya.  If you were just hearing Jake George in passing, or only for the one track, sometimes I wonder if people out there would feel like he’s done enough on some of these tunes, when the reality is, he’s put in a superhuman amount of work that deserves to be recognized.  I listen to tracks like “Warrior” and I’m truly stunned by how even across the board the level of his competency & musicianship is – he’s one heck of a player, and for one dude, he plays his songs like a full band that has no weak points…and he should be mighty proud of that.

To be fully truthful, and again, much to his credit – I spent a lot of time listening to Jake’s new record this week, and I STILL never felt like I got to spend ENOUGH time exploring the depths it genuinely has.  Even on a short track like “Night Drive” where he’s keepin’ it instrumental, there’s still a whole level of pure brilliance to be found, even when George is arguably at his most low-key…listen to the production and the clarity here will ya?  Amazing!  I can even hear that slight hum of the amplifier as the song heads towards its ending…but it’s like…oddly welcome, you know what I mean?  It felt purposeful in this instance…and I just gotta shout the man out for his technical skills as much as his musicianship for a moment here – Jake’s recorded, mixed, mastered, written, and played his way through this entire album all on his own…and it is no small accomplishment to say the very least.  This is an achievement to be proud of for sure – Drive All Night sounds stunning, and it’s got a set-list of songs that’ll fully satisfy your cravings for music with serious sonic substance to it.  Tracks like this always pique my curiosity though.  I’m not at all opposed to what I’m hearing – it’s great – but like…I know for a fact that Jake George is capable of creating twenty of these in a day if he wanted to get right down to brass taxes…so as to what makes one of those moments any better than the rest would be, or why he’d want to include just one instrumental track on a record that’s filled with songs with vocals…I dunno…I guess it opens the door for questions of all kinds.  Maybe one of these days we’ll try to pin him down for an interview & get some answers outta the man…or maybe as per usual, I’m reading too much into a fragment of another record.

“Satellites” was one of those cuts you hear at track NINE and just have to smile.  Almost any other artist out there, or band, tends to run out of gas at some point, usually right around here, and especially in the independent scene – but Jake’s clearly still got plenty in the tank.  Chorus-wise, “Satellites” probably has one of the strongest hooks of any track on the record…that’s the facts…but what’s also true is that he had ME hooked on this cut long before we even got there.  I felt like he’s got a bit of a TV On The Radio type sound working in his favor here, which I’ve found exists in a couple of these tunes on Drive All Night – maybe even more in spirit than in actual sound…regardless, that’s keeping practically ROYAL company by comparison in my books.  “Satellites” is one of those stunningly innovative, rhythmic and melodic tracks you don’t ever wanna miss out on when spinning your way through this record…so even IF there was a remote chance of your attention span waning somehow, this is that cut that should fully renew everyone’s engagement as he surges towards the very end of Drive All Night.  One of the strongest examples you can point to in terms of raising the stakes from verse to chorus, the shift into Jake’s 2nd gear works wonders here – you see/hear what I’ve been tellin’ ya?  I’ve got no problem at all with how dialed-back & mellow his energy can appear at times…and part of me wonders whether or not even Jake knows what it would sound like if Jake were to scream…but yeah…I’ll take the increased intensity as a valid substitute for anything too raw or in-your-face…a track like “Satellites” straddles that middle point in between those poles perfectly.  At least for me – I know this is a cut I can certainly get behind, 100%.

To add a bit more variation into the lineup of his new record, our solo hero of this story has even invited another player into the mix to lend a hand – and this was another extremely good call!  There’s been no shortage of quality musicianship at any point on this record to be clear – Jake’s done an exceptional job in holding it down from every instrument you hear added in along the way…but it’s also fair to say that you can hear just a bit more flair & confidence from Bibek Tamang on the drums, and how that seems to also inspire George into some of his own best moments musically at the end of this record as well.  Like, the bass-lines are OFF-THE-CHARTS amazing on this track…and every single time I felt myself thinking that, I’d realize just how smart the guitars were surrounding the rhythm section as well.  “All In A Day” ends up being this immaculately ALIVE experience to listen to…whereby everything that you’ll hear is worth tuning into closely, and of course, that’s practically impossible for any of us to do, so it genuinely warrants the several spins you’ll WANT to give it.  The bass & guitars, we’ve covered – but equally amazing on this cut are the vocals from Jake as well, and of course, those sensational drums, tone, and technique from our featured guest in Bibek taking over the throne to lend his time & talents to this tune.  This is where you’ll probably notice the potential Incubus influence on George’s material once again as well…a track like “All In A Day” is bound to have people out there recalling stuff from the S.C.I.E.N.C.E. days, like “Summer Romance (Anti-Gravity Love Song)” from back in the day…which again, is great company to be keeping.  “All In A Day” might not quite have that same level of hooks to it, but it does have every ounce of the smoothness to the groove – it’s definitely a track the people are sure to dig on.

The man knows his skillset, knows his equipment, knows his sound and what he’s looking to create when he goes into a recording session – and the results of his method & approach have shown & revealed a justifiable, resounding confidence in this whole lineup of tunes.  As he finishes off with “Break Down” at the end of the album, I feel that same combination of tones and rhythm that made the ol’ One Hot Minute record by RHCP come back to the forefront…no complaints there.  He’s also wisely enlisted the talents of Bibek once more for this last track as well…so ditto, no complaints there either.  I mean…is everyone comfortable if I just don’t make any complaints at all about “Break Down?”  I’m not feelin’ so inclined y’all…it’s a quality tune.  A bit similar to how I felt about “She’s All I Need” earlier on in the sense that, where ya start is somewhat where you end up…a static moment in time where Jake’s nearly written an anti-chorus for this last cut…but along the way, from the time this track drops in, to the solo that occurs later on, you’ll hear that inspired musicianship you can’t help but appreciate in his music, one last time.  The man’s doin’ good work, no doubt about it – I’ve always been a fan of Jake George’s music, even in the earliest days, way, way back in 2019…but I think what I’m loving even more, is the fact that every time he shows up again with a new record, he gives us even more reasons to keep listening and shows his consistent evolution as a professional artist.  “Break Down” was the right way to put the cap on this latest album; by the time it’s over, you not only feel like you really went somewhere with this lineup of songs on Drive All Night, but that you were completely stoked to have taken the trip.

Find out more about Jake George from his page at Instagram here:  https://www.instagram.com/jakegeorgemusic

Find out what we do at sleepingbagstudios, and be the next to be featured on our pages by clicking here!



"I’m passionate about what I do, and just as passionate about what YOU do. Together, we can get your music into the hands of the people that should have it. Let’s create something incredible."

Send this to a friend