Album Review – Walk Home Instead by Make Sure (2019) (Self Released)

Joshua Aubrey Jackson has received critical acclaim with other projects such as Fiery Crash and Summerooms. However, Make Sure appears to be the vehicle he is most content in using to express his inner feelings.

One look at the titles of the tracks suggest such ’emotional innards’ are going to be centred around break up grief. As such the twinkling laconic tracks like the title track, Left Alone, Bruiser Ballad and Sidewalker create a downcast sense that is filled with realism rather than the despair filled flourishes and flounces, that enshrine so much musical break-up fodder.

Such realism is his forte. He poinpoints perfectly the fact that for every genuinely broken heart that we have all suffered occasionally, there are numerous other relationships that have teetered out as a natural conclusion to most relationships.

As such this albums explores the more simple sadness of the it ‘just wasn’t meant to be’ as lyrics such as ‘the pages of us will dissolve in time‘ (Deal Breakers) typify the general theme of ‘no real regret’ and the inevitably of relationship termination for what was never ‘really’ loves young dream. Subdued/resigned emotion is a hard subject matter to cajole into beauty, but Jackson never really falters off such an endearingly honest course.

Throughout the album, the creation of the above aesthetic seems to create pathways for regular instances of aural hope, with tracks such as the superlative standout Deal Breakers (see above),  Home this Weekend and I Thought I Could Do Better Than You (see below), juxtaposing a beguiling mix of The Decemberists style indie folk vocals and celebratory chorus hooks to Nap Eyes style jangled guitar intrusions that slide just past any real sense of lo-fi.

Josh Jackson may never be the bouncy pop star that his voice and guitar work could  naturally master. Thankfully he is just too delightfully real for all that. He does however, deserve to become much less of a perfect secret.

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