As it happens, I’ve probably covered most of this album in the ‘live’ review of the album launch party at Glasgow’s Nice ‘n’ Sleazy. But what the hell ….at LOUD HORIZON we believe you can’t get enough of JACOB YATES and THE LOCK PICKERS!
‘Luck’ is one of those albums that are really hard to pigeonhole. So to help us gormless and anally retentive reviewers (who, let’s face it, feel that every style of music should fit neatly into a specific genre) the band have come up with the descriptive term of ‘Doom-wop.’ Hinting at a dry sense of humour, it also suggests something ‘retro’ as well as dark. Clever!
Opener ‘Mark,’ has the steaming stomp and sinister tones of some Southern Swamp Song It definitely fits nicely with he ‘dark’ aspects of the afore-mentioned term. ‘The Black Dog’ is pure Rockabilly with frenetic drumming, boogie-woogie keyboards, and knee-shaking bass lines. ‘Merry Hell’ slows the pace and starts out with the wails of the undead – presumably directed at the denizens of the Maryhill area of Glasgow. Jacob’s dark and dry sense of humour is reflected in the lyrics, as he tells us about his father losing his legs through smoking, but carrying them around in a plastic bag! And how his pet cat ended up on a BBQ at Kelvingrove Park! This track is a particular favourite when played ‘live.’
‘Dundee’ features Jacob playing some slide-guitar, in a more subdued, bluesy mood. The piano lightens the gloomy sounding deep drumbeat and bass-line, but Jacob’s vocals reflect a rather depressing tone that develops into a full-on wail.
‘Can’t Stop,’ reverts to what I hear as the Southern Blues influence and this stomper could conceivably be the best song that Dan Sartain never wrote.
‘Vessels’ interestingly is the one track on the album that wasn’t played by the band at the album launch. It’s also the one song that seems to have a more completely serious feel about it (even the closer, ‘When You Left Me’ which deals with the death of Jacob’s father features some lighter, black humour) and turns into a bit of a dirge, if I’m honest. Much better in my humble little opinion would have been to include either ‘You Started At The Bottom’ – an old ‘live’ favourite and b-side to the single release of ‘When You Left Me’ – or a cover of the Tom Waits song ‘Way Down In The Hole’ with which they finished their set at the launch party.
‘Lemonade’ quickly recues the album though, with its Bo Diddley refrain and slide-guitar. And all too soon we come to the final of the eight tracks, the previously mentioned ‘When You Left Me.’ It’s sad, bluesy, touching, mesmirising, carries a gospel feel and yet it still makes you smile in places.
Some may take issue with this I know, and although I make no direct comparisons (you just couldn’t!) Jake reminds me of the brilliant Alex Harvey. I think perhaps you’d have to see the band play live to appreciate where I’m coming from. But apart from the obvious Glasgow connections and the fact both have their names in the band title, you’d have to say that from a story-telling perspective, Jacob’s direct delivery and the fact that the music doesn’t really conform to any specific set of rules, then there are certain paralells.
I don’t think I could pay a greater compliment!
(Released through Re:Peater Records on 20th June 2011)
(9.5 / 10)