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Lucky Jim - Our Troubles End Tonight


Review: Jack Foley

SKINT Records is better known for being the stomping ground of big beat kings, Fatboy Slim and Midfield General, so it may come as some surprise to hear how hard the label fought to sign Lucky Jim from Red Records.

The Brighton-based duo are a million miles away from Slim and co, thanks to their finely honed, but ultra-refined style of songwriting, which harks back to the likes of Dylan, Neil Young, Nick Cave and The Tindersticks.

Yet, there are moments on the album when they certainly do justify this highly sought-after tag; such as in the sublime Dylan throwback, Lesbia, with its shimmering pianos and sweeping, slow-building melodies, or the heartfelt title track, Our Troubles End Tonight.

Elsewhere, though, the album seems to struggle to raise itself above the routine, coming across as slightly too ponderous for its own good, and suffering as a result.

Lucky Jim is comprised of Edinburgh-born Gordon Graham and Brighton-boy, Ben Townsend, who met after the former returned to the UK from New York, where he had spent time honing his songs on the open mic music scene of East Village.

After booking a slot at the Lift Club, in Brighton, Gordon realised he was without a drummer, and approached Ben on a recommendation. The rest, as they say, is history, as everything seemed to click.

The album was perfected and the hype began to grow, thanks to support slots alongside the likes of The Stands and, most recently, Joy Zipper.

Yet, try as hard as it might, the album is better described as a strong indicator of things to come, rather than a classic debut in its own right.

At its best, Our Troubles End Tonight serves as a welcome homage to some of their illustrious inspirations, particularly when Graham's vocals drift into Dylan territory, as on Almeria.

Or when they dabble in other genres, such as the hispanic-sounding, The Honeymooners, which features some excellent guitar interludes, and a breathless set of backing vocals, from Heather Banks.

But there is a tendency for some songs to drift along without really taking the listener anywhere special, as in You're Lovely To Me and Leah, which really did nothing for me, however many times I tried to listen to them.

Accomplished, rather than stunning, Lucky Jim look certain to be a name for the future, and are certainly worth checking out for fans of the other artists we've mentioned, but just don't expect too much.

When it's good, it's really good, but you feel they may need to pick up the pace a little more.

Track listing:
1. You Stole My Heart Away
2. You're Lovely to Me
3. Our Troubles End Tonight
4. Leah
5. Lesbia
6. Almeria
7. The Honeymooners
8. Westwards We're Headed
9. My Soul is on Fire
10. Endless Night

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