Jack's spectacular inability to achieve a commercial breakthrough of any kind, in the UK at least, is one of those little injustices that can irritate during idle hours spent driving to and from work. Over the last three months, many of those hours have been spent in the company of this magnificent third album.
For anyone who's been along for the ride from the word go, the opening two tracks on the album are a bit of a shock. Where lunar landscapes, heavy orchestration, stretched ballads and the odd rocker have previously dominated proceedings, this album's title track and the single "Emperor of New London" incorporate an almost brutal dance sound from the off, with guest "narrators"
Kirk Lake and Dan Fante relieving Anthony Reynolds of vocal duties. The music is surprising, full of drama and never releases it's grip. Absolutely brilliant.
From there on in, it's back to more familiar terrain over the next seven songs, most being of luxurious length, with ballads and pure pop (Disco Cafe Society) having the upper hand. Still, there seems to be greater emphasis on rhythm than on previous outings, and it adds a great dimension to the band's overall sound.
The songs are just grand throughout, and if anyone writes a better song than "Maybe My Love doesn't Answer Anything in You Anymore" this year, I'll be surprised.
This record deserves a lot more pairs of ears than it's going to get, I fear. Do yourself a favour. Get hold of a copy before it's deleted. When it turns up on some music rag's "Buried Treasure" page in ten or twenty years time, you can allow yourself a wry smile. You'll still be listening to it.