Jack Savoretti - Sleep No More

by Ben Leslie

Jack Savoretti, an Italian-English acoustic singer who graced our very own Lemmy last year, is back with his latest release Sleep No More, and it is worth a listen. Described as a “love letter to my wife” by Savoretti, the album on the cover of it seems to be a mellow sounding soundtrack to a happy relationship. It showcases once again his talent as both singer and song-writer, and with poetic lyrics and an acoustic vibe a very intimate atmosphere is created.

Savoretti’s previous album, Written In Scars, saw him move to a more gritty sound, filling his songs with raspy tones and raw vocals in place of a previous silkier finish. Each song begged to be listened to as he sung with a passion that could be seen even more so on a live stage, channelling an energy and desire for his story to be heard.

However Sleep No More, released just a year later, has seen a move back to perhaps his older material, and I can’t decide if it’s a good thing. Some of my favourite songs are from his early albums, with classics such as Apologies, Dr Frankenstein and Crazy Fool all finding their way onto many a playlist of mine. And yet another album filled with songs of the same ilk feels like a step away from the sound he created last year. In a fiercely competitive genre that is already brimming with talent, it is important to evolve and develop. Whilst what he is doing works now, producing album upon album of similar sounding songs will eventually lose its appeal, and I am worried fans may think the time has come for Savoretti to mix things up. Experimentation is exciting, and I am eager to discover what else he has to offer. Don’t get me wrong, this album is packed with infectious choruses, heart-felt lyrics and many a mellow love song, but I think it is lacking an edge that would’ve sent him once again into the charts. However it is worth saying that in today’s society this is by no means the defining measure on how good a record is. I long to see artists such as Savoretti up in the top spot, earning the credit they deserve whilst simultaneously tipping the charts away from the repetitive loop of number one after number one failing to be ousted for weeks on end.

The single released ahead of the album and first track on the record is a firm favourite of mine. When We Were Lovers is instantly recognisable as a Jack Savoretti number, and not just because of his tell-tale raspy voice. It follows a pattern we have become used to from him, as the acoustic backing guitar builds to a flourishing vocal performance, and with an addictive chorus, irresistible rhythm and catchy lyrics, it will have you singing and dancing along to the end. With significant radio air time already, When We Were Lovers has certainly achieved the desired buzz and excitement for this albums release.

Throughout the album Savoretti sings of lust and love, and as he puts it “the stuff that keeps you up at night”. The influence of his Italian heritage can still be heard throughout too, with acoustic guitar licks and Spanish-style playing layered with drums and his vocal, creating an enticing mix dictating the first few songs. Three songs in and I’m still relishing in his earnest voice, comparable to the likes of Paulo Nutini, as the very honest and authentic I’m Yours draws you in. Perhaps the slowest track of the album, I’m Yours is a gorgeous and sincere statement of love, starting off stripped back with just a few simple piano chords it captures your imagination, before almost on cue backing vocals and strings are added and you are lost in the chorus.

Yet as the second half of the album arrives I have started to somewhat lose interest. The previously catchy lyrics have become repetitive and the once charming topic of love has become predictable. Not to the extent where I am not enjoying it, his determined storytelling is still ever present and his poetic verse is still there, I’m just craving for a song where Jack lets loose and hits us with the powerful voice we have become accustomed to. When We Were Lovers and We Are Bound are tracks that showcase this and hint to the desire and passion we heard before, but Sleep No More could do with a few more. The result of this is a very listenable album produced by Savoretti, with a few picks that will no doubt be added to further playlists of mine, but when an album leaves me wanting more it’s hard to not be disappointed.