Jump - Over The Top Album Review

Folk rock stalwarts’ songs of friendship, war and watery graves.

Jump Over The Top album artwork

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This High Wycombe quintet’s 13th studio album sees them plug in again after 2013’s acoustic-dominated The Black Pilgrim, but from the first strains there’s a distinctly folk-flavoured quality to Over The Top.

It opens with the ballad of Sir Thomas And The Passer-By, recounting the tale of a ghost sighting and subsequent witch hunt, before The Wreck Of The Saint Marie hauls us into marginally more recent history with a nautically-based murder ballad. A quartet of Great War-themed compositions follow, peaking with Behind The Lines, sung from the perspective of a soldier shot for cowardice.

Lots to get our teeth into narratively speaking, then. But musically, the latter and its surrounding tracks do fall back on Dire Straits-style soft rock, and some listeners might find themselves yearning for more sonic spice.

Thankfully that materialises in the shape of Johnny V and Fifty, which represent the album’s emotional high watermark, as singer John Dexter Jones shares bittersweet memories of a late, metal-loving friend, aided by some dynamic guitar shapes from Steve Hayes and Ronnie Rundle. All of which reflect a band still full of heart, soul and diverting stories to tell.

Johnny Sharp

Johnny is a regular contributor to Prog and Classic Rock magazines, both online and in print. Johnny is a highly experienced and versatile music writer whose tastes range from prog and hard rock to R’n’B, funk, folk and blues. He has written about music professionally for 30 years, surviving the Britpop wars at the NME in the 90s (under the hard-to-shake teenage nickname Johnny Cigarettes) before branching out to newspapers such as The Guardian and The Independent and magazines such as Uncut, Record Collector and, of course, Prog and Classic Rock