Sunday, April 25, 2004

Kudos to Pitchforkmedia for their Found Sound feature, which names Jack's 1996 album, Pioneer Soundtracks, as one of the great finds of the year. The album is filled with jangly guitar and sweeping strings, guided by singer/lyricist Anthony Reynolds' strong vocals. Reynolds takes us into a seedy, inebriated world of desperate lives where keeping a lover seems impossible though it's necessary for survival. Joe Tangiri gives a great mini-review of the band in the feature, though he fails to mention that Jack are heavily inspired by Scott Walker. As mentioned on's Pioneer Soundtrack's review, the band seem to capture both the orch-pop and experimental aspects of Walker's career.
Aside from the tracks mentioned in Tangari's mini review, I highly recommend "Biography of a First Son" and "Filthy Names," the latter taking us through a night of intoxication with Reynolds and his "gorgeous slut" lover, together described as "pissed up whores." Musically, this track gives some future direction of the band, as a similar musical idea (string-led melody that blasts into a powerful guitar-driven closing) is found on "Nico's Children," an epic on the band's second album The Jazz Age.
Speaking of The Jazz Age, I think the album deserves more than the mediocre score given to it by This was a gorgeous follow up that saw Reynolds' lighten up a bit on his lyrics (he appears more settled in his love life), and the album contains some of Jack's best work ("Lolita Elle," "3 O'Clock in the Morning" and "Cinematic"). I also recommend the Jack/Momus collaboration Jacques, whose first release How To Make Love Vol. 1 combines the lo-fi recording styles of Momus with Reynolds' sexually deviant characters.
Reynolds has a new solo album out this year on Secret Crush Records. The label's website has a few songs available for download. Unfortunately, Reynolds sounds a little lost without the Jack's bigger sound (bear in mind that Pioneer Soundtracks boasts thirteen musicians over the course of the nine tracks). In fact, Reynolds and co. may have run out of steam a few years ago, but from 1995-1998 this collective (be they Jack or Jacques) mastered their abilities both musically and lyrically. It's a shame that so few knew who they were, and a crime that they've fallen into obscurity. Hopefully more people, like Tangari, will "discover" this band.

posted by Jonathan


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