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Jake Ziah (Norway) – Drugs (single/track from forthcoming album)

Considering this song ‘Drugs’ from Jake Ziah (which is a band as well as a bloke, and formed in the early 2000s) started off as a piece of punk a la The Sex Pistols, it couldn’t have finished up any more differently, as an example of what is increasingly known as Scandicana, which is Americana with even more emo and melancholy.

If you’ve been reading NMC for long enough you’ll recognise it straight away.

Jake has done the rounds, collaborating and touring with a host of top level musicians, and they even got their collective efforts into spaghetti westerns with Clint Eastwood composer Ennio Morricone, Quentin Tarantino actor Harvey Keitel (Mr White in Reservoir Dogs if recall), and Emmanuelle Béart. Keitel was last seen in British TV adverts for car insurance as a gangland-style ‘fixer’ but Jake keeps motoring on.

It seems there was a big gap between his early music and 2022 when a vinyl-only double album was released, followed by another one, ‘The Mission Bell’ in 2023.

This latest single, the first off yet another album – he’s gone into overdrive now- which will be released later in the year, is rather erudite, what with references to Deadwood (I reckon that must be the cult TV series and film rather than Doris Day’s stagecoach) and The Bible (I do know what that is).

It’s a sweet piece, which Jake argues isn’t really Americana any more than the rest of the band’s work, on the basis that there is not enough country left in the mix, adding “It is some kind of rock, we think.”

Perhaps so, but what I hear could have come straight out of a Nashville studio and has Route 66 cruising music stamped right through it like ‘Blackpool’ is through a stick of rock.

There’s some great slide guitar to complement a silky vocal, which in the early bars especially reminds me – and I hope he doesn’t take offence at this – of a female artist, Emmy the Great, on her song ‘Swimming Pool’. It has the same lush quality to it

And as Miss the Great is one of my favourite artists Jake naturally has my seal of approval.

Lyrically I can’t tell you what it’s about. With songs like this I need to see the lyrics as well as hear them. The key line is “you were a heart attack” which sort of suggests that she’s the drug that has the most profound effect on him.

And the biblical line seems to be the one about having a cross to bear; imagery that again Emma-Lee has used to great effect in her own songs. Which is even more reason to like this song.

Find him/them on:



Both the single and the forthcoming album are/will be on Atomic Soul Records.

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