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JFH Music Review


Make Sure, June
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Make Sure
June



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Indie / Folk Pop
Album length: 12 tracks: 50 minutes, 20 seconds
Street Date: April 12, 2024


READER RATING:   


Arist Make Sure - aka Joshua Aubrey Jackson - and his music is best described as subtle. Like the setting sun, or waiting for a pot of water to boil, it will take patience for the subdued vibes to sneak past the impatient modern music listener: the one who lives by the saying, "Don't bore us, get to the chorus" with a hair-trigger on the skip button. I must admit, after being introduced to and immediately hooked by his song "The Day That I Moved," from his debut Ninjutsu in 2021, I wasn't as sold on the three pre-released singles for his newest album, June. Yes, this time around, I was that impatient listener. Thank goodness I listened again because the wistful longings expressed on album number two have done their work, and several have risen to favorites of the year.

In June, we find Make Sure either revisiting or similarly trapped in neutral in the quest for human love and companionship. If heartbreak, the fallout, and the ensuing journey of recovery were the themes of Ninjutsu, then June finds Jackson in a similar headspace. This navigation of expectation versus expectancy is summed up perfectly in the song "Comedown" where he sings, "I know what I expect is never what I get, it's just hard to live with an open hand." To me, it's the central song of the record and easily a favorite. Other highlights are the warm opener "Manana Sun," and the fuzzy guitars featured on "Infinite Rail," reminiscent of labelmate John Van Deusen. Lyrically, "Infinite Rail" hits home with the plea, "Make what I want and what I need the same thing." Also, the 90s alt-rock-infused "I'm Right Here," and the slow burn of the emotionally crushing rocker "Burning Heap," rise to the top as highlights.

Lastly of note, the album's closer and title track ends the record looking away from horizontal relationships and fully upward. In the song, God addresses our songwriter with the sentiments, "Bring it all to me if you're willing to trust me/Even when you're lonely/Even when you miss somebody and it's all you feel/Cause I'm by your side on the days you wonder if you'll make it/My love will remain/While the world keeps breaking its promises/Will you hang on to the faith that I'm the one who stays?" What a terrific way to end the album.

The few criticisms that hold the album back are minor and may be muted further with repeat listens. Ultimately, I wish "Hangin' On" was longer, perhaps more fully fleshed out, as it was over all too soon. Also, while the album is sonically bright and layered, it does trend toward the sleepy side. All in all, though, with three great singles and a strong opener and closer anchoring the album, this is high-quality music for those willing to give it some time. Now, having spent enough time with it to get beyond initial impressions, June is the kind of record built to last. As such, I'm confident it will make some noise with critics and fans at the end-of-the-year list-making season. Take it for a few spins, give it time, and I think you'll agree.

- Review date: 4/11/24, written by Josh Balogh of Jesusfreakhideout.com



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. Record Label: Tooth & Nail Records
. Album length: 12 tracks: 50 minutes, 20 seconds
. Street Date: April 12, 2024
. Buy It: Apple Music
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)

  1. Manana Sun (4:31)
  2. While You Wait (4:01)
  3. Comedown (3:51)
  4. Leave the Willows Still Weeping (3:39)
  5. Infinite Rail (4:48)
  6. I'm Right Here (5:15)
  7. Automator (5:10)
  8. Hangin' On (1:46)
  9. Moving Day (2:53)
  10. Burning Heap (4:24)
  11. Wildflower Bed (3:52)
  12. June (6:15)
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