'Jazz Funerals'- Track Review
Availability: 'Jazz Funerals' is available now at: http://soundcloud.com/i-like-press/01-jazz-funerals
There is confident clout and surreptitious beauty to be heard...
from a band that have one hell of an image and aesthete. The band have a keen eye for image, colour and aesthetic. Looking through their annals, and searching their website there is boldness and striking tones. They have released a fair bit already, each song imbued with a gloriously-intriguing title. Suburban Barbarian and Spitting Pearls, are just two examples. They have an innate talent for memorable cover art as well. They choose simple and effective images. Some counterpoint the title; some lend mystery, whilst others confound expectation. The photos used, one suspects began life as a black and white image, but are transformed and given a makeover. They are in colour, but only one mind. This adds an additional layer of mystique and fascination, and the entire effect is immersive and wholly supersede the generic low-grade commercial fashions of most bands. The majority lend little credence or forethought to designs and imagery, either in their work, or their attire. Many provide little substance with their choice of track titles or band/act name, leaving you quite perturbed. It is, one would imagine, a crucial introspection for any new act. A good title or band name can cause imperious looks, furtive glances and much beard-stroking, before a single word, semitone or sonic alliteration have been enunciated.
I searched Google after a millisecond of apoplectic shock. As a songwriter myself I have always prided myself on being able not only to write quite diverse and thoughtful lyrics, but also cogitate and magic-up some quite unique song titles. In fact the band moniker I decided upon has quite a captivating and unexpected back story. At least many of my peers and fellow brothers-in-arms didn't have that sort of arsenal in their war chest. With a dramatic, almost theatrical tone to their name, Post War Glamour Girls, are sure as hell going to grab you with their name alone. You have your Post War Kids, but picture what the Kid's lascivious eclat fantasists put into their, and everyone else's mind. It is a clever juxtaposition; one wonders what a pre-war glamour girl would look like; probably far less sleazy sybaritic cheapness; more a classy and chaste paragon. And what war? Before you investigate further, there are roadblocks, nature trails and provocative detours of curiosity. In fact the cover art to 'Jazz Funerals' is a bold image. There an image of a man, sort of a nocturnal clown. The sort of thing you imagine stalking Batman. Maybe a jazz clown, whatever that would be. It is on the way to the Jazz Funerals. Between that cover image, and the song's title, you are transported to a moonlit London night, moon howling tempestuously. Meanwhile, down in the near-deserted streets, a Coke can is kicked by a shiny red boot. In its midst is the leader of a motley crew of face painted, suit clad mourners, each with a cigarette drooping from their mouths like a dying autumn leave. They march in truncated synchronisation, stomping and screaming indecipherable non-sequiturs. Before them is a quiet, God-forsaken church with a weather-beaten green door. As the assorted congregation proceed past a neatly lined parade of moss-covered and forgotten about gravestones, the names are illuminated by a lone street light. Emanating from within is an oddly hushed yellow light, and the distant sound of conversation and revered hush. The alpha clown stubs his cigarette with fervency, and throws the doors open, before leading his comrades to witness the Jazz Funerals...
There is a distance tapping- as though trying to hammer through lead. Instantaneously there is a flourishing arpeggio of guitar, that opens like a peacock's plumage. There is a light and atmospheric build-up of electronics and mood, reminiscent of 'Two Dancers'-era Wild Beasts. It is soothing and endeavouring, all at once. There are kisses of guitar, admist a riotous rainbow-storm of sonic foreplay. With a slight percussive gear shift, a note of caution is introduced, playing off of the sound-scape like a Newton's Cradle. The vocal eulogy in our parable of funereal adventure is low and sonorous. There are flecks of Nick Cave but I hear Matt Berninger of The National, mostly clearly. It is by no means second-rate to his, it just shares some similar bari-tones; there is an equivocal aching conviction. There are tales of regret, Datsuns, and "three years of my life", in the author's words being stitched and "cut up". There is a growl and a bellow ushered forth, as if Howlin' Wolf has just been stung by a bee. The effect is startling and unexpected. Given the comparatively whimsical and unprovoked musical accompaniment, it is quite unsettling to hear such a monster of a blues vocal. Although the effect is quite wonderful. There is a sense of danger, anger and disorder, in the midst of a whirlpool of chameleon-like and humorous lyrical mosaics. There are strange and mercurial snatches of: "mother's meeting/By the football pitch", as our hero recollects that an unnamed woman gave her love to him on Christmas Eve. The less-than-revered "Succubus" subsequently turned to stone; but with a sly wink it is said that it "happens to the best of us". Thus far there have been a fever dream of surreal scenes and bizarre heartache. The mood and atmosphere has had an unassailable locomotive effect, with the vocal being dominantly empire-assessing and authoritative, as well as a little frightening. After the 1:20 point, there is a slight remission of intensity, where our protagonist is accompanied by celestial vocals, as he implores: "Hold me/I'm weak", decrying the fact that no one is listening to him, as he tries to make his way and move on. The mood is more composed, as electric guitar enters, moving and probing rhythmically, bolstered nobly by percussion. If you thought calm and sensibility were in progress, our leading man is back, with an air of Captain Beefheart's unfettered bark, as his disposition and fortune is subject to tangental velocity: "Stand on my ashes/By the coffee machine". It seems that our hero's unslakable thirst is subject to undeserved disapprobation, presenting as he does, a veritable buffet of multi-coloured emotions and kicks in the teeth. It fades down, and the spirit and breathe that has been drained from the mouths, hands and souls of Post War Glamour Girls, is oddly contagious. It is exhilarating, and at the very least, a big ol' is left on your teeth.
Being subject to a lot of different sounds, bands, acts and influences, it is always surprising to hear what I will hear, of a day. A lot of the music treads a similar path, that is to say it airs on the side of conservatism and mainstream. Often that produces spectacular stuff, and most of what I encounter is professional, assured and brimming with gold. Here there is a vaguely unhinged sound, in the most primitively exciting way. There is little concern for restraint at times, which gives the song vivid brushstrokes and a great fascination. It is a track dressed in black, that at times will beat you black and blue. There are a huge recommendations and commendations that deserve to be presented. The music throughout is gripping and beautiful. There is quite a bit of Wild Beasts, as well as The Smiths as well. On that note, the lyrics posses Morrissey's wit and ability to turn a phrase. The lyrics as a whole are memorable, witty, unexpected and delightful. You are left with some very bizarre and wonderful images, that may not shift from your head for a little while yet. The vocals are a curious blend of Nick Cave, Howlin' Wolf and Captain Beefheart. There is a bit of Scremin' Jay Hawkins' guttural roar as well. During the chorus there are similarities with Jim Morrison, too. It is a fascinating array, but none of these artists are aped; simply alluded to. It is a powerful and entrancing vocal performance, and I wonder how our front-man had any throat left afterwards!
The band have a busy touring schedule, including dates in Europe. This single release will excite and enthrall current fans and hopefully bring in a lot of new ones as well. If you are not a huge lover of the influences and styles of music explained here, then do not fear. The song is not meant to tribulate or alienate. It has a very modern sound, and succeeds in balancing humour and intelligently. Keep abreast of this fascinating act, and wait with baited breathe for their future ambitions. Jazz Funerals, has been thoughtfully and tastefully assembled, with love and consideration. You owe it to yourself to...
... pay your respects