by Keith Hargreaves
It’s no surprise that this captivating album has been produced by the Cowboy Junkies’ Micheal Timmins. From the first note there is that Junkies vibe – all big sounds in intimate spaces with room for the instruments to breath and time for the singer to tell the tale. The album opens with the title track and it sets the standard, Jackson’s measured and aching delivery swooning within the reverb guitar and shimmering cymbals. The pace doesn’t lift on ‘Random Breakdowns’ – in fact it becomes even more measured with the narrative leavened by a delicate piano highlights.
At nine albums in Jackson should know what she’s doing, and she certainly does. Each song is beautifully realised but these are no standards. There is an air of the desolate and the crumpled, an unspoken desperation. ‘Mystery Novel’ has this feel highlighted by some gorgeous guitar both as lead (think ‘Wings’ by Josh Ritter) and as texture (think Young with ‘Dead Man’).
The overall impression of the album reminds of the Delines ‘Colfax’ with its pedestrian storytelling as the tempo never really lifts, but this is no bad thing and the comparison is a great compliment as Jackson’s lyrics compare favourably with the wonderful Vlautin. If you like your Americana gothic and compelling this will reward your investment many times over. 8/10