The single opens with a defiant cry of hope, the lyrics “I’m searching…”, ringing out alone before two saxophones enter, freely weaving around the vocal, at once harmonising and echoing it. This texture builds as a third saxophone joins creating a rich brass warmth through which Doe’s voice glides, effortlessly leaping between the declamatory and the intimate. The band enter with an infectious groove, and we are introduced to the songs’ key metaphor of a flood and the need for creative destruction – “One day, when all this is washed away, some will remain, full of hope in the pouring rain”. The track resolves with the triumph of hope over doubt.
Holding Hands was written during a moment of desperation, Jamie having travelled half way across the world only to run out of road. Strung out and alone, he found himself writing this song for the true love he hoped to meet, as much an act of faith in their existence as a beacon to guide himself home. Originally written for voice and guitar, it was after hearing Bjork’s ‘Anchor Song’ late one night that Jamie decided to arrange the song for saxophone trio. The timbre of the brass, the groove of the band, The Bad Plus style piano solo – it is an arrangement that brings together some of Jamie’s key influences which he describes as “the lyrical directness of folk, the harmonic openness and improvisational freedom of jazz and the craft of great songwriting. It’s a good example of how much more confident I have become as an arranger”.
Born in Australia, before moving to the UK at 12, Jamie began performing as The Magic Lantern while studying philosophy in Bristol where he met and performed alongside friends This Is The Kit, Rozi Plain and Rachael Dadd. Moving to London in 2007, Jamie expanded The Magic Lantern into a quintet of friends and together they evolved a transporting sound, inspired by the immediacy of Jamie’s lyrics and lilting melodies and a shared love of improvised music. A debut album with the quintet was released in 2011 before Jamie returned to his solo roots with an intimate second album in 2014. The Magic Lantern has received praise from numerous publications including The Guardian, Acoustic Magazine and Folk Radio UK as well as BBC 6Music’s Lauren Laverne, Tom Robinson, BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction and BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe and Bob Harris among others. His third album, To The Islands from which Holding Hands is taken, sees The Magic Lantern return with a new ensemble drawn from London’s thriving jazz scene, exploring memory and hope in a world of near constant uncertainty.
With Holding Hands, The Magic Lantern is ready to introduce further listeners to his bittersweet, beautiful sound.
Holding Hands is out on 30th October 2017 via Hectic Eclectic Records.