16 December 2017

Jaya the Cat - A Good Day for the Damned


Jaya the Cat is a Ska/Reggae Punk band who are based in Amsterdam, Holland, but they're originally from Boston, Massachusetts.  I’ve had the joy of seeing them live once, whilst I was flat on my feet, but it was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen.  It was at the Think Tank in Newcastle a couple of years ago, it was nicely full, and Jaya sounded fantastic.  I went in just a bit curious about them, as my friends were raving about them, and I came out a fan.  So after that, I went through their back catalogue and I’ve been awaiting new music from them.  Which bring me to Good Day for the Damned, which was released on 17th November 2017 on Bomber Records.  It has been a long wait for me to review this album, also to post it (due to illness and other things, this has been incredibly delayed).  But, now I am finally reviewing it, so how has Good Day for the Damned turned out?

01 – Wine Stained Futon

“Wine Stained Futon” is a song about Amsterdam, but it could be a song about being home and trying to live your life with relevant ease.  It’s a great number, it is one that will get the crowd warmed up slowly, letting them bounce as the band launch loosen their collective shackles.  I love the chorus of this song, it keeps getting stuck in my head.

02 – A Rough Guide to the Future

“A Rough Guide to the Future” seems to be a song about the conflict of emotions that seems to be in the world, how everything seems to be turning to shit right now, so we might as well start to party as we are on our way out.  It has a spark of energy that is infectious, one that cannot help but raise a smile to these lips.  If the party/world is ending, this is part of my soundtrack!

03 – Sweet Eurotrash

“Sweet Eurotrash” is a song about misadventure, the wonders of the night and this narrative is explored over a slow and brooding Reggae Punk sound.  It feels like an argument is in full force as if you have walked in to see a couple quarrelling, with broken glass over the floor.  I wasn’t too sure what to think when I first listened to this song, but there is a certain charm to this song, something underneath it which has kept me coming back for more.

04 – Black Heart

“Black Heart” focuses on the Reggae side of their arsenal more than the punk, something that often happens on a Jaya album.  It is a gentle rhythm, a feeling of being lost to the narrative and a bit of love added to the mix as well.  It’s a lover’s song, one that has the memory of being alone added to the salvation of being found, it’s a tale that will be told many times again. It’s also a song which keeps the album ticking over nicely, not one I would reach for straight away, but neither is it one I would skip.

05 – Huddersfield Rain

“Huddersfield Rain” is another love song, one about all the good times, all the bad times and the need for a drink to ease the pain of loneliness.  This mid-paced reggae focused number has a decent sound, a bit of energy and a sound that’s akin to the calling of the lost.  Whilst it sounds nice enough, it’s not bowling me over if I'm honest.  Time to move onto the next one…...

06 – Just Leave Me There

“Just Leave Me There” is an energetic ball of self-loathing, mixed with the destructive attitude of a man at the end of his own sanity.  It’s a dark, claustrophobic number that brings a hardcore punk edge to the album, with its gang chanting chorus and massive riff.  I love this song, it’s a brilliant number, full of passion, desire and a sense of despair.  But it’s also a number that will make people realise that they are not alone, that there are other’s who suffer the same apprehensions and that need help as well. 

07 – Wreckage

Country Reggae Punk?  Well, that is sound of “Wreckage”, which is a song about a relationship that has hit the rocks, and everything is doomed.  Once more, I am not connecting with this number so I will move onto the next song.

08 – Amsterdam

“Amsterdam” is a fantastic song, another one about Jay the Cat’s adopted city, the great port of Amsterdam and you can feel the love that they have for the place.  It’s a catchy number, it makes no bones that it ‘s not always perfect, but their love for their home is eternal.  What a great song!

09 – The Palm Reader’s Face Looked Shocked

“The Palm Reader’s Face Looked Shocked” is a beautiful number, with haunted fairground vibe to the opening, that gives way to a ska tune that has so much energy, that it could dance out the door with your partner and you wouldn’t care!  It’s a number that might be as fast as other songs on the album, but it’s such a good number that it will automatically be one that you send to people, just to show how good Jaya the Cat sound.

10 – Fucking in Love

“Fucking in Love” is a passionate number, a slow number about how love can be beautiful, demanding and heart-breaking all at the same time.  I like this one, it brings a dry smile to my face, you can hear all the arguments and laughter in the song, just by the delivery of the band.  A subtle, but very effective number.

11 – Sunday Morning

“Sunday Morning” is a party song, but with a twist.  It’s about enjoying the moment, to hell with the consequences and to enjoying life with a carefree attitude.  It’s another number which gives more with each listens, one that you can easily see as a sleeper hit for this album.  It could end a show and the crowd will be dancing, it has that “continue the party in the house” feeling, with an energy that never really leaves you.

12 – A Good Day for the Damned

The title track is about how God can sometimes smile on the damned, how the world can give people a break and how the world can be an alright place.  All of this happens with a hangover, something that is cured with more booze and drugs, all played out to over a slow reggae-influenced number.  It’s another good number, nothing more and nothing less.

13 – The Streets of Shoreditch

“The Streets of Shoreditch” is a sing-along song, one that has a strength of determination, a line of hope and a lot of love.  It’s a great number, it has a familiar feeling, like the end of night tunes you sing on the way home from a night out.  It’s one I would gladly listen to all day and all night, it’s just a beautiful piece of music.

14 – Mad at You

“Mad at You” is a love song about that special someone who makes you complete you, not a pissed off number which I thought it might be when I saw the title.  It’s a piece that gets under your skin, it’s mixture of rock ‘n’ roll & reggae is infectious.  Another good number that will bring a smile to your face.

15 – Drunk Balloon

“Drunk Balloon” is another love song, a soulful number about wanting to escape the world and to fly to new pastures.  It’s a gentle way to end this record, but it’s also a fitting ending as well.  The melody is charming, the performance is hypnotic, and it ends the album on a poignant and fragile moment.

A Good Day for the Damned is a great album, one that you can embrace with all the ease of a large rum at the start of an evening.  It’s a bit long for my tastes, but it’s better to have too much than too little when it comes to Jaya the Cat.  It might not be the deepest album in places, but then there is so much love in here as well.  I’ve seen this making a lot of end of year charts, it really doesn’t surprise me.  I love this album; Jaya the Cat have released another album that will get the party going at a moment’s notice.  So, this album should come with a health warning, if only to make sure you don’t get hooked on it….Fuck it, let the good (and melodic) times flow!

8.5 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention, and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – The Streets of Shoreditch

You can purchase A Good Day for the Damned on Amazon here.

You can visit the Jaya the Cat website here. 

You can purchase A Good Day for the Damned on Bandcamp here. 

You can follow the activities of Jaya the Cat on Facebook here. 

You can stream A Good Day for the Damned on Spotify here. 

You can stream A Good Day for the Damned on Deezer here.

You can stream A Good Day for the Damned on Tidal here.

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