The Jayhawks “Paging Mr Proust”

jayhawksThe harmonies are present and correct. The melodies are great, the musicianship as excellent as you would expect but there is some intangible thing missing that stops me giving this album the full five stars “I love it” accolade. Maybe it’s the absence of Mark Olson, I don’t know. I’m three listens in now and it certainly grows on you but I am just a bit dis-quieted by the fuzzy guitar work on tracks such as ‘Lost the summer’ – although the song is uplifted by the chorus. Also on tracks such as ‘Lovers of the sun’, there is a vital edge missing on what is still a beautiful song that almost but doesn’t quite edge into blandness. Rather like 2000’s ‘Smile’ there may be a hint of over-production, and those who prefer the stripped down Jayhawks sound may find this album suffers from that. I believe I am in a minority who actually loved ‘Smile’ so am willing to go with the production ideas for this album but on track’s like ‘Ace’, again with a fuzzy distorted sound a potentially great song is hidden from view by the electronica and discordant keyboards. Shame. That I still find enough here to award four stars shows that there must be some wheat amongst the chaff and in my opinion this is found on the last 5 tracks from ‘Devil is in her eyes’ onwards where indeed a lot of the production tricks are laid aside and the songs are allowed to flourish and excellent songs they are as well. All in all not up there with their very best but still better than most of the competition.

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Author: markamericana

Editor of Americana UK website, the UK's leading home for americana news and reviews since 2001 (with the exception of our various downtimes, damn you internet)

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