Since their first self-titled release in 2011, Jack Pine and The Fire have boldly stood firm in their eclectic mix of genres, refusing to step solely into one small box. With their second full length album “Left to Our Own Devices”, released on September 8, 2017, they’ve returned more confident than ever while they experiment with an even bigger variety of genres, elevating them to new levels in the music game.
While you might categorize Jack Pine and The Fire as alt-country/folk upon first listen, the band has surprising musical depth, as they’re also a solid amalgam of bluegrass, rock, and roots. They teeter on the edge of multiple genres while mastering all; moreover, the band skillfully balances the flow of this latest album, all while keeping a common theme and sound to the nine magnificently textured tracks. Jack Pine (Gareth Auden-Hole) and the Fire (Martin Newman, Mike Essoudry, Stuart Rutherford, Anders Drerup) display their limitless talents on Left To Our Own Devices note after note, and song after song.
Most lyrics from Left to Our Own Devices were written in an isolated cabin in Northern Ontario, and it shows, as you can truly feel the sense of solitude and isolation seep through Jack Pine’s words as they slip through your speakers. Whether they’re providing a commentary on personal relationships or on our collective relationship with the earth, life, and nature, Auden-Hole’s crystal clear vocals and eloquent lyrics really confirm the sense that, for some artists, songwriting is just a natural gift.
This is driven home right off the bat, as the album kicks off with the catchy and energetic “Cabin Fever”. Characterized by a brilliant blend of folk and rock, the song bears an ever-present feeling of stir crazy, which is vividly communicated through apt lyrics and the heightened tone. It’s a demonstration of the mastery of their craft, which is soon exemplified throughout the album, as they continuously flow through genres with ease and pair them with clever, affecting lyrics, such as with the country/bluegrass tune “Credit River”.
The new album also features two wonderfully reworked pieces from Jack Pine’s solo effort “Lone Wolf EP”, which was released in 2015. The two tracks, “Lone Wolf” and “Make Up or Break Up”, are unique and intoxicating: both versions of these two songs offer a different feel, all while demonstrating growth and stunning depth. The versions off of the Lone Wolf EP are stripped down and more vulnerable; the new versions offer a slower pace, but a more full and more elaborate sound.
All told, Left To Our Own Devices offers up no weak numbers: it is ingeniously compiled and arranged, making it nearly impossible to pick just a few standout tracks, and simply begs to be listened to as a whole. This truly captivating album is as brilliant as it is beautiful, and is more than worth the asking price. Run, don’t walk to Jack Pine and The Fire’s website to get this album for yourself. Be sure to head over to their Facebook and give them a follow to hear of upcoming shows and catch their latest news.