Jack Cade “Bewilderland”

Collision Music, 2024

Raw on the outside, soft & tender in the middle.

artwork for Jack Cade album "Bewilderland"Bewilderland‘ is Jack Cade’s fourth album. It follows from where his 2021 album ‘The Death Throes of a Jaded Empire‘ left off and is a result of Cade reflecting on how the conditioning of his youth through to adulthood affects his everyday decisions, reactions and outlooks. Having taken time to unpick why one reacts in certain ways to break this conditioning, the songs cover subjects including questioning, self-doubt, the false portrayal of life online, saving something of yourself in the face of adversity, holding on to dreams, positivity in the world, staying true to yourself, surviving depression and gas-lighting. Themes that run through all of Cade’s work.

Some time ago now, after years of having a great time playing bass and guitar in bands and writing songs for others to sing, Cade, being true to himself, decided to go it alone, using the pseudonym Jack Cade to create his stage persona. History attributes Jack Cade as the leader of an ancient rebellion against Henry VI and corrupt members of the nobility, telling of a mutinous march from the Kent Sussex border to Blackheath in London, where rioting occurred. In Cade’s opinion, “this story still has resonance if you substitute the royalty and nobility with the governments and bankers of today”. And, perhaps the name’s history has somehow subliminally informed Cade’s songwriting themes.

Kicking things off with the lead single from the album, ‘Choose Your Condition‘, is a bold “call to recognise and challenge the conditioning we all experience and decisions we make based on this conditioning”. With its moody, spaghetti western-style intro and Cade’s deep and imposing baritone sound, it asks many serious questions, culminating with a twist on the chorus line: “And we all are shouting to the heavens, but no one ever listens, why don’t you slow it down and ask the question, why?”

Roll Them Dice‘ continues in Cade’s narrative style with a storytelling grandeur that would not be out of place in musical theatre. ‘The Faster You Run‘ is slightly more sung than narrated, highlighting Cade’s raw, resonant tones, whilst ‘Little Secret‘ is a tentative and dramatic tale. ‘The Glitter Around Your Eyes‘ brings in excellent string and piano parts, which, together with the subtle female harmony, make this beautiful song a highlight of the album. Cade’s vocals have previously been compared to Tom Waits, and ‘The Glitter Around Your Eyes‘ certainly has the feel and lyrical quality of Waits.

Where The Sun Meets The Moon‘ is another musical theatre-style duet where the male & female vocals work well together; Cade, with his stern narrative and the lilting response of Helen Muggeridge, make the song effortlessly suit the feel of a big theatre production. The bold introduction to and pounding delivery of ‘Love Will Burn‘ demonstrates the harshness of how tough recovery from an abusive relationship can be, but also how vital to that recovery it is to “Feed that flame and build that fire, and fill that heart with wild desire“. ‘Heal Me (everything ain’t alright)‘ has a robust accent as it describes the feelings of depression and the desire but powerlessness to release from its clutches. ‘Rocking Horse Blues‘, however, offers a glimmer of hope and release from the blues with lines such as “there are days when you will ride under the sun, ride long, ride long, ride long… when you’re riding on them rocking horse blues, ride strong, ride long, ride on

Bewilderland‘ can be pretty bewildering. It is not a happy album, but it does offer some hope, particularly as it closes out with the comparatively tender ‘Keep Believing‘. Another album highlight, ‘Keep Believing‘, is musically solid and intense. Cade’s vocal, whilst always deep and dirty, powers through the song’s emotion and, together with the resilience of the violin, takes things to another level.


Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments