Jack L: Broken Songs
Theres irony aplenty in this albums title. The first studio output in five years from Athys favourite musical son proves that Jack Ls time away from songwriting has served him well: always a consummate live performer, these so-called Broken Songs make up his strongest studio collection yet.
Nobody ever denied the quality of Jacks delivery. From the very early days, when Jack the lad was merely an interpreter of the work of Brel, Cohen, Walker and Waits, even the deaf could feel Lukemans vocal power: normally at a gig, its the bass rumble that sets your trousers a billowing, but in the days of the Black Romantics, it was more likely to be Lukemans oral assault.
If anything, his voice is an even more incredible phenomenon now, a fuller, more rounded instrument thats equally at home with the breathy whisper as the full-blown bellow (often in the same song Ive Been Raining), as capable of a tender caress and a cuddle on the couch as a night of seedy, sweaty copulation. The arrangements too seem more mature: the musical backdrop, while never short of interesting, is unfussy enough to let Jacks voice soar and swoop, flow and eddy, just like it was born to.
Chocolate Eyes is one of the finest songs Lukeman has ever written, a soulful, seductive lullaby with a melody so hummable that it has radio hit written all over it. Elsewhere, Authentic Fake, with a guitar line reminiscent of Crowded Houses Weather With You, and the emotive Open Your Borders prove that theres no shortage of potential singles, while the tribal Wicked Ways raucous roar-along should make it a favourite at Jacks incendiary live shows. Theres a timeless quality to songs like Sweet Low Down and Apes And Angels that should both seduce new listeners and appease diehard fans. Even the language he uses in his lyrics speaks of emotions as ancient as time itself: If love is just for poets, then forever well speak in rhyme (Broken Songs).
Jack L has always been a unique talent. With Broken Songs, he has the material to show off his remarkable vocal prowess to the full. A warm, intimate and well-rounded record, these songs are anything but broken and are more than capable of making him the international star he deserves to be.
John Walshe - Hotpress Magazine
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