Friday, October 17, 2008

Quick-hitters:: Luke Jackson

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Lately I've found very few cds to blog about. It's the end of the year, I'm running out of steam and so is the release calendar. As a result, I randomly picked a disc and ran with it. So, the lucky winner? Canada's own Luke Jackson.

There is an old and overused saying about writing your first book, essentially pointing out that you have a lifetime to do it. I guess you could say the same about someone writing releasing their first record. Years of songs can be cobbled together and put out for the public. So what happens when you dip back into your back catalog for your second release?

Luke Jackson has been writing songs for years – and his record … And Then Some – is a collection of tracks that Jackson has been penning for over a decade. You can hear his years and experiences unfolding across this record, but when writing music your influences and preferred sounds change so much over time that it’s hard to keep the record cohesive. The range of styles make for an uneasy listen at times, and while Jackson is at his best when the bursts of grit and energy drift back into the 90’s alt-radio jams, it's a style he doesn’t use enough on this release. The youthful, punkish anthem Goodbye London – a nostalgic look at the past, which sounds like an early Ben Lee track – seems to be a bit out of place when compared to the mature sounds of some of the other songs (the sweeping strings and theatrical balladry of All I Can Do, adult-contemp feel of Trouble or the Beatle-y nod of This Life).

While this combination of sounds and critique might be common, arranging the songs with a group of musicians from Sweden you met over the internet probably isn’t. Jackson developed a musical relationship with Christoffer Lundquist, Magnus Borjeson and Jens Jannson and the four worked with a Swedish string ensemble to help transform Jackson’s songs (the strings, kalimba and Hammond organ really make this listen more enjoyable). If I had to describe this record succinctly, I'd probably say it seems to be the time capsule Jackson wants to leave behind. Considering the "song writer in your local bar" feel a lot of these songs have, the recorded output is ambitious and succeeds more often than I expected.

Posted at 10:51 AM by ack :: 0 comments

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