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Five years is a long time to wait for a debut album, and the wait for Jeremy Neale’s has been felt. Two EPs and a plethora of charming social media posts, Neale’s name has lingered on the edge of our minds for years. But now, with the release of Getting the Team Back Together he’s offered the opportunity for us to embrace his honest yet quirky material. Getting the Team Back Together is a timeless release of an exceedingly high calibre.

For the better part, the album tackles romance in all its forms. Form the moments you hold onto forever, to those you simply can’t escape. It’s full of heartbreak and joy, but fundamentally driven by the existence of a better time. From the swagger inducing first moments of Averse to Try there is a thrill to the release. The track, not only the opener but a highlight of the eleven-track album, features funky guitar solos, chanted backing vocals and an eclectic energy. It tells of love in such an open manner that you can’t help being jealous of Neale for even being in a spot where he could write words dripping with such confidence. Part of the brilliance of the Getting the Team Back Together is the almost awkward nature to the lyrics. The intentions suggested in each track are relatable and so easy to insert yourself into. But like watching a well-made coming of age movie, Neale presents a character who is better at dealing with everyday problems than we ever can be. But, thanks to his charm, it is inspiring.

It’s easy to tell that not a single moment on the release was rushed. Each element of every track fits together perfectly. A few times through the album the jump between tracks feels a bit blunt which could remarkably be the only fault in the album. Near perfection, especially on a consistent level, is hard to pull off with ease. Often, the full release starts feeling flat due to lack of build, but Neale skips around this across Getting the Team Back Together. Each track is distinctly indie pop rock, the holds tightly to the genre, and his vocal work is always the strongest gel in and between each track, but there is a sense of variation between tracks that ensures that the consistency remains engaging. From the sparse styling of album closer Light My Way, to the shimmering of prior single Dancin’ & Romancin’ Jeremy Neale engages through more than just relatable lyrics.

For all of the fun found in Getting the Team Back Together, it’s the honesty in the lyrical work that is the highlight of the release. For all these years, Neale has highlighted his ability to write catchy and quirky tracks. But in the safety of a full-length album, Neale has stepped the level up. Video is a pinnacle of the album for this very reason. Without delving too heavily on the cause of, Neale portrays himself as a broken man, but one who found the “rhythm of life” and managed to pick things back up. He places the attention on his romance of the time, but it does more than that. Through the lyrics he teases the ideas of the relapsing nature of poor mental health, and the desire to do one better. 

Getting the Team Back Together may be a solo affair at the forefront, but its one that is easy to see where his own friends and collaborators have been included. From the shout out backing vocals through the release, through to the gang on the album art, and most importantly his connection with the listener, it’s an album that is very much a communal affair. There is a secret hope that his cult-like side project Sword & Sorcery may have an attachment waiting to be found (maybe on the physical versions?) but all in all, in Getting the Team Back Together Jeremy Neale leaves fans awaiting for little more, except maybe another release.

Ayden Measham-Pywell

Tallest kid at every gig // Questionable dancer at best // twitter/instagram: ayds_on_toast