Jeremy NealeA Grant McLennan Fellowship afforded Jeremy Neale the opportunity to spend three months of last year in New York, where he attended a songwriting masterclass, collaborated with local writers and regrouped.

On his second LP, Neale digs deeper, exploring themes surrounding mental health and the uncertainty of life as an independent musician. He crafts instant classics with perky, side-stepping tempos that camouflage anxiety-ridden lyrical content (“I’m always tearing myself down, hoo-hoo/ For something I did long ago/ And you’re always kind when I need time, hoo-hoo/ But I’m never kind to myself”).

Happy-clapping, bubbling synth and sax flourishes enliven arrangements, with shimmering riffs nodding towards The Cure. How could you not sing along with those irresistible “ooh-sha-la-la”s in album closer, Time!? Neale’s songwriting is Maximo Park-level catchy.

We Were Trying To Make It Out by Jeremy Neale is out February 28 via Dot Dash/Remote Control.

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