The Agony of Longing is the latest Album from Staffordshire Based Foursome TJMB and out on all major streaming platforms NOW!
Originally released in 2013 under the title ‘Unexpected Sunshine’, the initial recording was dubbed by the band to have been “a strong second or third album that came first’. Whilst the band had actively steered away from a commercial recording and created a concept album laden with fourth wall breaking sound effects, the passing of time brought a lot of reflection for them. 2013 seems like a long time ago and in that time, the band had many discussions about what they may have done differently which intimately led to the decision to hand the recording over to Andrew Raphael at Distinct Recording to see how he might streamline and re-imagine it.
Frontman John Macleod feels that the album benefits greatly from Andy’s input and has used feedback received whilst interviewing to create what might have been had they heeded some earlier warnings.
The album kicks off with ‘Yesterday I was’ – one of the standouts for me which a punchy, upbeat tune about mixed feelings after a breakup and perfectly leads track two into the equation. ‘Umbrella Heart’ is a really sweet break-up song, it’s quite jovial in the beat and features a melodic guitar riff, elevated in the chorus by an awesome synth beat, yet the lyrics are really quite sensitive and relatable.
One thing I do really appreciate in this, the diversity in the individual tracks, whilst it flows well together, you can hear similar influences and recognise each track as TJMB but each song feels very much unique.
For me, there is not enough range in the vocals and despite the diversity within the instrumentals and lyrics, I found I was a little bored and reached a slight lull after the first few songs. It is revived again by ‘Don’t tell the Folks Back Home’ which contains some piano jazz influences and really reinfuses some energy, although I’m not a huge fan of some of the synths in that song, the placement of it in the album is perfect, a kind of hoorah before it is wound back down.
Whilst this isn’t an album that I would listen to back to front, individually there are certainly some strong stand out tracks and some interesting instrumentals and any listener can certainly appreciate the diversity of the band.