• Review

Album Review: Jake Borgemenke - Drinks

Have you ever listened to an album, or maybe even a specific artist, and it’s like the speakers are hugging your ears? Or the songs have come to life and are wrapping you in a comforting, friendly, relaxing embrace? Having now had the pleasure of indulging in my third album by Cincinnati musician Jake Borgemenke, I’m hard pressed to describe what listening to his very particular musical stylings evoke other than just sitting here, a dumb smile on my face.


The cover illustration shows Borgemenke surrounded by the friends and collaborators who make appearances throughout the album’s runtime. Noah Moses, Joey Pruitt, Sunfiend, Mike Dasher, Daniel Lunsford and Tatum Jackson, D.Varsity, and Joey Joesph all offer their own musical stylings across Drink’s 14 tracks, even if they’re so subtle as to sound like they simply belong where they are, and always have, always will.

Drinks follows closely on the heels of Borgemenke’s collaborative album with Joey Joesph, Subliminal Clave. While the two share some DNA, the meandering, contemplative, often hazy approach to Drinks is an interesting departure and certainly more in line with his solo releases Assorted Gems and Closer To Obscurity. All of these are available on venerable and high quality local label Lo Fi City, by the way.

Where Subliminal Clave found Borgemenke getting real trippy, fuzzing things up, and splashing around in psychedelic mud puddles, Drinks take a more stripped down and calmer approach. There are some rockers, for sure, like the driving “Give It Some Time,” but tracks like personal favorite “Alien Girlfriend” and “Feeling Fine (On Your Dime)” offer a more stripped down and folksy approach. He even tiptoes into alt-country territory with tracks like “Someone In Need of Help.”

From a thematic perspective, Drinks seems most interested in recounting moments of, let’s call it transcendence, with tracks like “Altered State” really leaning into it, while the pensive and layered “Too Many Drinks” wrestles with acknowledging and accepting the limits of our own minds, bodies, and spirits. One can only consume so many spirits of another kind before things get heavy, man. It’s a party album for those whose idea of a party is sitting on the couch watching sitcom reruns, or at a bar on a Tuesday night with hits from the 70’s on the jukebox - but it’s still somehow energetic in an incredibly relaxed way, and mysteriously celebratory. Overall, Drinks makes it seem like Borgemenke would be among the chillest hangs you could ask for.

All told, it’s another strong outing for Borgemenke, and a nice feather in the cap for Lo Fi City, who continues a long run of great releases.

Drinks is out now and available to stream, but I recommend heading over to Bandcamp and snagging a digital copy of your very own.