Mr Jukes and Barney Artist seeks out positivity
Being shut down for almost a year was hard on people. At the time, it seemed like there was no hope for what the future held. There was a negative cloud weighing on many people as we awaited each day for something positive to come along. Eventually, places began opening up, and through that shutdown, people began seeking excitement from life as they realize how it can all change in an instant. Mr Jukes and Barney Artist’s latest project, The Locket, reflects that realization.
Mr Jukes is better known as Jack Steadman from Bombay Bicycle Club. However, he took on the Mr Jukes moniker when it came to releasing his solo work, which he did in 2017 with God First. Within that project, he collaborated with East London native Barney Artist. Their love for hip-hop and good vibes began what would be an 18-month long process of The Locket.
The album starts off with the title track. The sampled beat singing “Where is the soul” opens the album to an immediate feeling of something being meaningful. With lyrics coming in such as, “I fill a locket with memories to protect, and don’t forget, keep it on your neck,” that theme is only affirmed. “Blowin Steam (Open Up Your Mind)” is the first single. The beat here contains a basic drum pattern with vocals holding the main melody. What makes the song so special is the use of horns and turntable scratching. Scratching on the vocals of the chorus gives the track an authentic hip-hop feel. “Vibrate” is the second single. The video really demonstrates the essence of the album with the carefree freedom and good vibes portrayed by the two artists. Lyrically, they question if things are going to get better but emphasize just living and vibrating on positive energy.
“Autumn Leaves” features Lex Amor. Amor’s deep vocals and tight flow skate over the jazzy pop instrumental. The singing in the chorus gives an airy feel to the track, which is a contrast to the hip-hop production previously seen on the album. “Leaving Us In Light” is another more pop-influenced track. The idea of freedom and searching for it in difficult times is played around with in this track. It’s hopeful, encouraging and motivating. Ending the album is “Gratitude.” Giving a pop-gospel vibe, this song is showing how thankful they are for the higher power they look to with the chorus, “Our Father, we shine in Heaven.” It’s also a chance to remember their origins, find faith and remain strong throughout all the difficult moments.
The pandemic provided a chance for a lot of artists to reflect on how it has affected them and others. A lot of it has been more dark and serious topics as COVID-19 exposed many people to face their emotions and previous trauma head-on. The Locket gives a more positive light on the situation. It’s a reminder that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. If you cherish the memories close to your heart, they’ll never fade away, no matter how much around you changes.