Much like his debut album, I think that J.P.Kallio’s sophomore follow-up, “Read Between The Lines” is something rather special. The album has a real singer-songwriter feel about it. There is a melancholy air that hangs over the album, with the songs dealing with loneliness, broken relationships, human flaws and the like.
If this sounds very miserable, it isn’t; J.P.Kallio creates lovely melodies with excellent arrangements and a stripped down production, leading to a variety of tones from solo voice and acoustic guitar. It is certainly poignant and often touching, but somehow never depressing.
What makes “Read Between The Lines” exceptionally good, in my view, is J.P.Kallio’s lyrics. He tells stories and conjures emotional states with exceptional depth and it gives the songs real impact. From his work as a key component of the punk-rock band, Boneyard Bastards, to his excellent debut “Northern Boy”, this Finnish-born Dubliner has produced songs of the highest quality and delivery.
“Read Between The Lines” which is to be released on the 10th of June, is the work of an assured, mature artist who is comfortable with what he is saying and how he is saying it. This difference is even apparent in his singing voice. In these songs J.P.Kallio delivers stark, confessional songwriting that achieves a literary quality that more acclaimed musicians can only dream of.
There are certainly songs that stand out for me on this album, but they’re all exceptionally good and I’ve listened to the entire album over and over and over again, gaining a deeper appreciation each time. Once upon a time we used to have storytellers; Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson have never sung a song in their lives. They just told stories while we sat and listened in awe. J.P.Kallio has that same quality.
Just listen to “Soldier Boy”, “It’s Okay”, “One More Day”, “Hey Barman”, “You Still Wonder”, “Knocked Down” and “Side By Side”. A great mix of stories, life’s journeys and characters, presented in a vivid and sometimes redemptive style. Instantly listenable, and yet the songs bloom and open up, the more you listen to them.
As on his debut album, Kallio once again shows he has a way of weaving an intricate and accessible story showing his bare emotions; incredibly raw and honest, holding nothing back with a very dynamic and clear delivery. It gets down deep into your soul and pulls at your heart strings.
It is always a joy to discover new music of this quality. I’d recommend “Read Between The Lines” very warmly to anyone who likes beautiful, thoughtful and intelligent songs. J.P.Kallio is also previewing the songs on Soundcloud as well as his website with a new song every Friday. Don’t miss out!