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Jackie Leven - Lovers At The Gun Club

Jackie Leven, Lovers At The Gun Club

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

PROLIFIC Scottish singer-songwriter Jackie Leven has delivered another album of stylish folk-blues that wash over you in pleasing fashion.

By Leven’s own admission, it’s “one of the very best records” he has made – and he told his manager as much in a letter that forms the album’s PR (for which he is broadly castigated for completing the long-player “without due consultation and agreement”).

Highlights include the title track, Lovers At The Gun Club, a psycho-sexual voodoo redneck tale that’s sung by his “absinthe-drinking pal”, American Johnny Dowd. It’s an effective blend of folk and blues that offers a nice contrast of vocal styles, and a truly vivid tale.

The Innocent Railway, meanwhile, is an imagery-laden love song that benefits from a much more low-key approach and some wonderful harmonica, inter-spliced with some sombre guitar riffs.

Head Full of War also strips things down to similarly pleasing fashion, intermingling the lyrics with a liberal sprinkling of piano, and delivering some thought-provoking lyrics.

And his adaptation of the Kenneth Patchen poem To Whom It May Concern is another stark beauty that fully does justice to the beauty contained within the source material. It’s intelligent songwriting and evidence of Leven’s growing confidence as a songwriter.

Thereafter, there’s some more fine guitar work to enjoy on the intricate Olivier Blues – a track which, by Leven’s own admission, is “a simple [form of] blues whose lyrics are culled from an evening spent by a log fire with the late Laurence Olivier during which I thought of a first line to each verse, sang it to Laurence, and he then dreamed up the answering line”. And more of the same useful combination on the brooding Woman In A Car.

It’s songs such as these, though, that make Lovers At The Gun Club such a rich and absorbing listen, especially as they’re also complimented by some really strong instrumentation.

Needless to say, this LP comes highly recommended.

Download picks: Lovers At The Gun Club, The Innocent Railway, Head Full of War, Olivier Blues, To Whom It May Concern, Woman In A Car

Track listing:

  1. Lovers At The Gun Club
  2. Fareham Confidential
  3. Innocent Railway
  4. Dent In The Fender And The Wheel Of Fate
  5. My Old Home
  6. Head Full Of War
  7. I’ve Passed Away From Human Love
  8. To Whom It May Concern
  9. Olivier Blues
  10. Woman In A Car
  11. Heart In My Soul