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,
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
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.
1. You Stole My Heart Away
2. You're Lovely to Me
3. Our Troubles End Tonight
7. The Honeymooners
8. Westwards We're Headed
9. My Soul is on Fire
10. Endless Night