Sunday, 27 August 2017

Jackson - Push Through EP

Push Through EP (Self-Released)          

If Stevie Wonder, Pharrel and Public Enemy were taken hostage by Sun-Ra, Mogwai and Mike Patten, forced to spend a decade devoid of outside contact in a Fritzl-esque cellar, and then forced to record an album, it would sound exactly like this. Exactly. Like. This. I fucking guarantee it.

Following on from assured sophomore release Time, Jackson deliver on their unquestionable promise with new record Push Through. 
Building on what is becoming a signature sound, the band, helmed by Jack Baldus, combine world-class musicianship with the kind of relentless creativity that can be as demanding as it is invigorating. Songs swerve violently, lurch and crash through their arrangements; yet every step is deliberate and meticulously performed. Influences and styles coalesce like battery hens, each one fracturing into a mix that defies categorisation; an amnesiac captivated by an unplaced reminiscence; something sinister; something sweet. Golden eggs indeed.

The band are led by songwriter, keyboard-wizard and lyricist Jack Baldus, whose increasingly impressive list of credits include work with Sure Thing. DJ Die, J. Morrison and Laid Blak. Joining him is regular vocalist O.Love, AKA 5 times DMC UK scratch champion DJ Asian Hawk, who combines sharp cuts, choice samples and impassioned vocal performances. This combo are the brains trust, behind which come the exceptional talents of a band of semi-regulars on session duty across drum, guitar, and brass instruments... including Gary Alesbrook on trumpet, he of Kasabian fame.

I could list the influences I hear in the record, but that would do a disservice to the composer, Jack Baldus. His uncompromising dedication to creating his own sound is clearly the driving force here. If you had to classify, you'd call this a jazz-funk-prog fusion record, akin to those the likes of Stanley Clarke gave to the 70s. Yet there's something Punk about the refusal to water down arrangements for modern audiences. 
I'll explain. Punk itself was a violent backlash against the proggy, jazzy sounds of the 70s that irked a generation of upstarts who wanted their music to stand for something, and saw the beardy prog bands as the preserve of a snobby upper-class. These days, music is most often delivered in soundbites; easily digestible simplicity set to a checklist of tired tropes. A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a song without the word 'tonight' in the chorus!
The received wisdom is this: Audiences are over-saturated, over-stimulated and under-educated. The steady dumbing-down of modern radio since the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has had its desired* effect, and the audience clamours for More Of The Same.

Of course, that's not the whole story, and the internet has enabled the proliferation of new styles and sounds, but the audience has dwindled. Represses outsell new records on wax and Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift outsell everyone by a ratio of approximately 10000:1

There is simply no common-sense in a self-funded, self-employed professional musician with only a modest fanbase putting themselves through the agonies and ecstasies of creating a band, recording and gigging when it's one as wildly inventive and academic as Jackson. 

By railing against this received wisdom, Jackson's Push Through delivers a record that might just remind you why you fell in love with music in the first place. You deserve music with passion. You deserve music that aspires to be the best. You deserve songs that mean something to the writer. You deserve Push Through.

Here's a short teaser video

Buy Push Through Here: Bandcamp / iTunes

Also since Jackson isn't the most Google-friendly search term going, here are some links to connect on social media


*That's a whole other story, but if you're interested in how the Telecommunications Act affected diversity in the musical landscape, I recommend this illuminating report

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