Stevie Jackson issues from the highly influential Belle and Sebastian, a pop outfit that has become practically a household word while experiencing limited success as a commercial act. The group has so far been confined to indie labels Jeepster, Rough Trade, and Matador, which should give adequate illustration of their dilemma. Like a number of such ensembles, the usual antiquated music biz idiocies seem to be accountable and a way out of that frustrating rut is difficult to locate, usually eventuating, when it happens at all, as the result of a number of accidents adding up to fortuity. Following a number of his own releases, EP and otherwise, and resident in B&S since founders Stuart Murdoch and Stuart David decided Tigermilk, their experimental foray, did well enough to get serious about things, Jackson decided it was time to give his solo hand free rein and has issued (I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson.
It's being preliminarily described as "a masterclass in the art of pop craftsmanship", which is a tad unwarranted but glowingly enough put. The reason I'd kinda disagree is through the fact that there's a good deal of reg'lar rock and roll here, a la The Kinks (with a lotta Ray Davies hiding away in Jackson) and even a less heavy Mott The Hoople, both inspissated in Richie Now, though I can't deny that a Brian Wilsony undercurrent informs that cut and others just as much and indeed takes quite pop tones whenever it pops up. If Brian Wilson isn't one of the ultimate pop craftsmen, then who is?, so I cede the point. Nonetheless, a goodly percentage of I Can't Get No is like a trip back to the old Arthur and Village Green Preservation Society days. Then, of course, there's the Beatles-esque circus orchestra in Kurosawa.
So, yeah, this is definitely pop, but not of the old Piper, Raspberries, Smokie ilk or their descendents but rather in line with all the wondrous fusiony experiments going on so proliferantly in recent rock side pools. That they're not being paid sufficient heed partially accounts for why the music mainstream biz is so damned moribund, the aging cynical businessmen of one era trying to understand a new epoch when they never figured out their own. I mean, listen to the second track, Just Just so to the Point and the case is made. It's a progressive advance on pop's elementality and done oh-so-smoothly, capturing hip sway in mellifluous intelligence. You can't listen to this song without falling into it, and the same is true of most of the disc. You're not just listening to music, you're having an adventure. That's refreshing…which is the adjective probably best describing Stevie Jackson.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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