Originally formed in 2018 for a one-off performance for guitarist Jamie Davis’ birthday, The Jaded Hearts Club’s repertoire initially consisted of Beatles covers (hence the name derived from Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band). Since then, however, the indie rock supergroup has branched out to cover tracks by various other artists – leading on neatly to the idea behind their debut album, You Have Always Been Here. Consisting of lesser known (and occasionally unexpected) gems from the worlds of Motown and Northern Soul, it is 30 minutes of sheer delight – a thunderous whistlestop tour of some classic tracks done the Jaded Hearts way.
This release couldn’t come soon enough for me; with a few singles as teasers, I had a very good feeling about how the rest of the record would turn out – October 2nd came, and I was like a kid at Christmas. Build-ups & anticipation can be dangerous, but in this case I was not let down. The only disappointment is how quickly it’s over!
In some ways it is a bit counter-intuitive to look forward to a covers album: at the most basic level you aren’t getting anything new, but if a band or artist can really put their stamp on it then it’s a different ball game. The familiarity of the melody or the lyrics underneath the new sound is your way in, and you just let the recording do the rest. With the combined forces of Matt Bellamy, Miles Kane, Nic Cester, Graham Coxon, Jamie Davis & Sean Payne (with individual contributions from Dominic Howard & Han Rubin), you’ll have a reasonable idea of the direction in which they’ve taken most of the tracks, though the band truly is more than the sum of its parts.
Lulled in by an excerpt of We’ll Meet Again (Bellamy on vocals & piano), the power suddenly kicks in with Reach Out I’ll Be There – a classic brought up-to-date with the growling guitars and the pounding bass. Definitely one of my favourites on the album, and it also manages to reaffirm my love of the Four Tops’ original. Less familiar to me was Love’s Gone Bad (though since the single’s release I’ve found a previous recording on a Northern Soul compilation and have been playing both versions endlessly), a proper stomper that’s ideally suited to Kane’s vocals; it creates a nice symmetry to the album, giving you one last slap in the face before Bellamy closes it with a solo version (vocals & bass) of Fever.
Other standout tracks are the Cester-led This Love Starved Heart of Mine (It’s Killing Me) and I Put A Spell On You, his rasping vocals on the latter allowing him to go into full Screamin’ Jay Hawkins mode. I’ve lost count of all the different takes on Money (That’s What I Want) I’ve heard over the years, but this new one is more than welcome and another highlight.
As I haven’t been lucky enough to see them perform live (yet) this project is my first proper taste of the band, finding them primarily as a Miles Kane fan (though obviously Muse, Blur, Jet & The Zutons are all in my music library). An addictive start to their recording career as an ensemble and, whether it’s originals or covers, I can’t wait to see where they go from here.
You’ve Always Been Here was released on 2 October 2020 (INFECTIOUS RECORDS) and is available to purchase or stream online.