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Lights in the darkness
on 8 September 2014
This is, to be unapologetically blatant about it, one of the most beautiful albums I have ever heard, at least in the realm of 'rock' music, though this has as little to do with conventional rock as the music of, say, Van Morrison or Eno.
The cover alone makes you want to hear the music inside - Jack barely visible in a woodland clearing at night, his jacket hung on a low branch of a nearby tree, against the bark of which an old bicycle leans. A ghostly light illumines the scene.
According to the notes in the excellent booklet, he and the photographer went out hoping for a storm, since the LP was going to be called Into the Storm, but not a drop fell. However, they did find a wood, went into the wood, and so...
The songs were composed by Jack B and his old writing companion Pete Brown - who should get an award of some kind - and each one is a gem. There are no actual 'highlights' though Brown's own favourite, the movingly lyrical Golden Days should be mentioned, as should the title track and the wonderful Timeslip. But really, the whole album is so very special that cherry-picking is pointless.
On all the songs, there is a feeling of a hesitant light making its presence felt through an encroaching darkness. It's haunting stuff - 'but beautiful' as the man said.
Over the years, Jack Bruce has become one of my favourite people in contemporary music, a stunning singer - whose every word can be understood, such is the bold, full-hearted generosity of his voice - as well as a remarkable bass player and, as if that weren't enough, multi-instrumentalist, not to mention a songwriter of a rare and distinctive originality.
This is one of Jack Bruce's finest recordings, and I happily recommend it without qualifications, and with all my heart.