Chuck Jenkins and The Zhivagos : Walk This Ocean
Recently, at the conclusion of a set from a visiting interstate band, a friend remarked “these guys need to take a leaf from the Chuck Jenkins school of song-writing”. Notwithstanding the substantial gulf between the band in question and Charles Jenkins’ pop schtick, the comment was significant: with a Charles Jenkins song you’re almost guaranteed to hear the complete ingredients of a good song, from melody through to poetic lyric. Some people dabble in music: Charles Jenkins writes great songs.
Walk This Ocean is Jenkins’ latest record with his current principal project, The Zhivagos. While on the previous Zhivagos record, Blue Atlas, Jenkins relied on a nine member string section for some extra orchestration, on Walk This Ocean Jenkins strips back to a basic rock and pop formula.
Indeed, opening track, Only A Secret, is a classic rock track reminiscent of Jenkins’ days out front of The Mad Turks From Istanbul, while Bring In The Archaeologists is a glistening pop song with so much raw beauty you just want to embrace the bejeesusout of it.
For Jenkins the storyteller though, look no further than High Alone and Save! On the former, the narrative of chemical excess and personal dysfunction plays out against a relaxed tempo that perfectly reflects the opiate indulgence that lies at the heart of the tale. On the latter, Jenkins’ story begins with being rescued from a drama at Pure Pop Records by Van and Cal Walker before traversing into other great moments of cultural and musical salvation.
After the romantic interlude of A Memory to You, Jenkins is back into serious rock ’n’ roll territory in the Walk This Ocean title-track, examining and celebrating the whims of personal and parental contentment with some rock riffage that’s crying out to be bottled and offered to any aspiring songwriter for inspiration.
For considered use of metaphor, you can have the nautically influenced discourse of The Diamond Light; for heart felt emotional pleading – with a drunken European party (sort of) edge – look no further than How to Break A Heart. And to top it all off, you can bask in the absolute glory of the pristine Weller-esque pop sensibility of What I Saw Of Rheola.
Whatever you’re looking for in a good song, Charles Jenkins and his Zhivagos have got it, in spades.
Chuck Jenkins and The Zhivagos awesome new album Walk This Ocean is out now on Dust Devil Music