“Well I’m off to make my fortune in a big old world, you know it won’t take long to get where I’m going, and you’d soon forget me if you’ve got any sense in your sleepy head. Dirty blue jeans and muddy knees, you slept all night in a nightclub toilet.”
I could’ve started this review with a choice of any of the lyrics from Jeremy Warmsley’s new EP, Other People’s Secrets, but I might as well begin from the same place he does. So here we are, heading out with the wide-eyed sense of adventure hooked in Burton’s Big Fish, but we’re daunted by a world that doesn’t look as big as it used to be. If this mission is gonna be long, it helps that Jeremy’s story is a good one; especially for someone afflicted with a natural weakness for the sincere, as I am – reports suggest that one day he simply grew tired of the textbook music he was making and decided to make something that truly appealed to his own ears. Many would do well to adopt this particular kind of Prima Donna attitude, working on the age-old adage that you have to love yourself for others to love you. Many, I assume, would also be tired if this EP followed the style guides set out by other bands – so it is a relief to hear a young man making his own rules and feeling his own way in the world. Why? For many reasons, but mostly just because I am a young man, too.
‘Dirty Blue Jeans’ throws a rucksack on its bare back and a greasy, sweaty t-shirt over its shoulder as it chimes along open road before breaking down into a Lekman style string section; jaunty and melodic like the old organ on a carousel. After that, there is talk of being young and in debt, as Jeremy leaves home at midnight washed in the pale stolen light of the moon. He’s gonna make his fortune, remember?
“When I was young I saw a couple make love on a French TV. Their hearts were an ocean of need. The height made my nerves bleed, and I wished it was me. Their faces could split down the middle and be the same.”
Other People’s Secrets is told with a curious-type of restraint, with lyrics that often sound too bold for music that treads a very wary path between Royal Tenenbaums kitsch and FM Unmentionable epic. This somehow manages to imbue every chord with a timeless quality, and the reverb on Jeremy’s voice swells his tight meek to a kind of rueful, wise-to awareness of the world that surrounds him. He is learning, at the very least – The Clash-ragga stomp of ‘Jonathan And The Oak Tree’ and ‘Modern Children’ is one built on righteous hard graft. And that’s what morally underpins Jeremy’s adventure – flair amassed from great deals of time spent earnestly using what he has at hand to craft five songs richer in detail and ideas than most band’s full-lengths. The secret’s in the dirt of his blue-jeans and painted all over his muddy knees. And it’s in his open throat, breaking out in swoons and lilts when the music demands it, as it does in the central refrain of down-piano lament ‘I Knew That Her Face Was A Lie’. (And girls all faint after precisely one minute and 15 seconds of ‘Modern Children’, trust).
“Modern Children are never alone with their dreams and so they love to be alone. Guilty little boys, guilty little girls. Feeling good. Make themselves feel good.”
Colour the EP like a sesame street CYHSY. Fresh. The words, at times, are profound, even if they just tie up the loose ends of inferences that run decades-deep. We’re done for now, unless you wanna rewind it back and…yeah, thought as much. Go back and do it all over again. All of it. Listen harder. Listen better.
“Don’t let the flames go...CLICK”