Jack Cheshire – Long Mind Hotel (Gun 20 Records)
23 September 2013
Somerset born Jack Cheshire releases his third album. Louder Than War’s Paul Scott-Bates reports back.
This Jack Cheshire chap is a talented bloke, very talented. In fact, file him under Poets rather than Songwriters, because that’s actually what he is above anything. His words don’t rhyme and that largely goes unnoticed in his ability to make the words (and his voice) seem like an extra instrument. Instead he writes in unique couplets which add to the unique presentations.
His style is hard to pinpoint – nestling somewhere in between classic blues, 80s Indie, folk and vaudeville he creates tunes that brim (and often overflow) with sheer quality and ease. His words flow beautifully at times reminiscent of the British pop/poet institution that is Ray Davies, managing to fit the word ‘cantankerous’ effortlessly into album opener ‘Gyroscope’ which is a classic waiting to happen.
Moving to Liverpool in his formative years, Jack studied music for several years whilst becoming an accomplished bass player, interestingly then adapting the bass playing style to the guitar. There are often nods in the general direction of Chris Isaac with his surf tinged plucking and obvious improvisations which were recorded and left to settle in the dust.
On first listen the album seems peculiar, almost a bit too different for its own good, but, after several more listens (yes, you will want to play over and over again) the mood grabs hold and won’t let go. The optimistic ‘Heavenly Bodies’ is another super catchy affair embroiled in sweeping arrangements and general loveliness. The title track describing the perils of drug abuse is majestic.
‘Kerosene’ is compelling with love song, and album closer, ‘Moving In A Straight line’ ending an album of surprises. An album of superbly written, constructed and recorded tracks, and, an album which you really should hear.
All words by Paul Scott-Bates. More of Paul’s writing on Louder Than War can be found here. Paul’s website is hiapop Blog. Paul has been working hard to save Radio Lancashire’s On The Wire, easily one of the best radio shows on the BBC. Follow him on twitter as @saveonthewire for all On The Wire news or follow his personal twitter, @hiapop.