It has been three years since his last album, Ritual, but finally, Richie Egan – Jape to us mere mortals – is back. Course, he never really went away. He was kept busy by The Redneck Manifesto, playing bass a handful of times with Villagers, and he has also toured for about two years. And a handful of shows in recent months as well. I saw him solo (almost – he was playing with Goodtime John) over Christmas at Debarras – does that count as recent? So yeah, not quite welcome back, is it? Anyway, Jape has a new album coming out in September called Ocean of Frequency. If it is half as good as Ritual, expect it to clean up at the Choice Music Prize next year (though I said that about Villagers too). ‘Hands Of Fire’ follows on in a similar vein to ‘Christopher & Anthony’ or ‘Apple In An Orchard’. “I can vouch, I left the couch,” Richie sings, endearing him to all those on the dole. ‘Lying On A Deathbed’, meanwhile, is not too far removed from ‘Phil Lynott’: it’s an autobiographical tale of Richie’s youth and how he made it to where he is now. His balls had dropped in 1984/’85 and joined a band (Spitfire?) to meet some girls. I can’t do it justice, but needless to say it will make you laugh while your eyes tear up. Listen and download the tracks below.

Hands Of Fire / Lying on a Deathbed by Jape