New Music: The Jar Family – Machine/Footsteps


Hartlepool’s 7 piece industrial folk collective The Jar Family have a gift for the music industry, and not an unwelcome one. It’s a double A-side in the form of ‘Machine/Footsteps’. Both songs are quite different from each other, yet manage to maintain a unique sound that makes them identifiable as the work of the same group.  This difference between tracks means it’s accessible. Fans of most genres can enjoy it. So, let’s start with ‘Machine’ (because it’s first, it only makes sense).

Far too few tracks start with a typewriter, it’s a very underrated way to introduce a song; even if its use later on does sound like someone is typing too loud right next to you, intentionally trying to ruin music for you. I get it, though. A typewriter is a machine. Clever. Lyrics don’t start for a good 42 seconds, it’s too busy building up in layers, adding a new sound that seems like it’s from space every few seconds. Basically, it’s the musical equivalent of a cake and just as enjoyable. For the sake of this comparison, let’s say the vocals are the icing. Not necessary as it stands up as entertaining without them, but nobody’s complaining about it. It does get repetitive in the middle but then opts for a different feel and slows down. In some songs this can seem abrupt but in this it feels right, like it’s needed to break it down into parts. All in all, it’s a song you can really sing along to, get involved in and thoroughly enjoy.

There’s more of a folky/country feel to ‘Footsteps’. A nice example of musicians experimenting with different styles and making it work. There were also the slightest hints of the style in ‘Machine’ (I can’t stress ‘slightest hint’ enough). It’s not a case of these guys getting lucky that it works for them, it just feels like a natural fit. It’s reminiscent of something you’d expect to come from the American south, not Hartlepool. If you were to think of what you’d expect to hear from a group of people with rocking chairs, a harmoica and a banjo sat on a porch looking at the sunset, you could probably imagine the whole song. Unfortuneately, sometimes the guitar seems a bit too loud and can swallow the vocals a little and at points it sounds like the song The Simpsons used to advertise the Canyonero.