​Review: Managing, Just by Jake Pavey

Words by: Shannon Beech

A gentle, raw ride through what we know as the chaos of human emotion is how I would describe Cornwall artist Jake Pavey’s eighth album ‘Managing, Just’. This is one of those articles where I have an endless amount to say yet language utterly confines me. It makes complete sense though, ‘Managing, Just’ boasts seven tracks that ride solely on the absence of words; and instead, take us on an instrumental journey through the depth of emotion. You hit play on the first track ‘And Just Like That’ and you are immediately transported to a world consisting only of you and your feelings, just like that.

The album was born through Jake’s rather recent personal struggles, and because of that, you can physically feel the essence of the music speaking to you. Like poetry without words, its euphonious flow gives way to let you apply your own story to its sound but also somehow allows you to understand that of the artists. It feels like something that almost belongs on the Euphoria score, where both the metaphorical and instrumental layers contain everything from longing and a deep sense of numb sadness all the way to hopeful optimism and an acceptance of vulnerability. A feeling that remains constant throughout the album.

Really, it’s one of the collections that allow you to just close your eyes and give the internal montage of every tragic or sorrowful moment in your life a meaning, or let it inspire you to create something from it. It is exactly the unexplainable feeling you get when you imagine yourself in a movie, and the music will always perfectly encapsulate your innermost pain, and yet still hold the idea that pain is what makes us real, and eventually more powerful as people.

Taking a look at Jake’s past albums, there is a clear switch in style and message at play. Previously he explored a beautifully otherworldly drone sound, but ‘Managing, Just’ is so unmistakably grounded in human experience and instrumentals. We get a brief throwback to this ethereal sound in the first quarter of ‘Day by Day’ which sits smack bang in the middle of the tracklist. Symbolically so, by the forty-second mark, it transcends into an expertly crafted mix of elysian echoes and pointed guitar tones.

A brilliant metaphor for Jake’s transition of musical style and I believe a very meaningful way to express how his mindset around music, life, and despair has changed in the forging of this album. As you make your way down the tracks, you’ll notice the gradual deepening of tone from the opening bitter-sweet guitar bite. Once you arrive at ‘Who I Am Or How I Feel’ you stroll into what feels like a more assured sense of acceptance and honesty woven within the almost remote and cushioned trills.

Once you’ve listened to it all the way through, and you’ve seen your own story flash across your mind during each piece, it’s well worth taking note of photographer Maia Pavey’s stunning and encapsulating album art; it genuinely captures the sense of unmasking or unveiling of emotion that you yourself feel during the very raw listening experience.

All in all, as a writer I was completely blown away by the degree of thought, vulnerability, and creative inspiration that shone through each of these tracks; escorting you through a journey of your own mind and perception. Something only a truly honest, raw and introspective artist can hope to achieve.

Managing, Just is out now and available to listen to on all major streaming platforms.

Instagram: @jake.pavey