In this edition: We review, “Drunken Sailors & Happy Pirates” from Portugal’s, A Jigsaw; feature tracks from Constant Supply, Neil Halstead, and Lightouts; and you can watch videos from The Presets, Matt & Kim, Yeasayer, Yeasayer, The Heavy, and Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get to it…
REVIEW: A Jigsaw – “Drunken Sailors & Happy Pirates”
Hailing from Coimbra, Portugal, A Jigsaw is considered one of the premier Americana bands in Europe. In this case, Americana is used broadly, as they draw from American folk and blues traditions. A Jigsaw is often compared with Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and Tom Waits, but this reviewer wants to inject Bill Callahan (Smog) into the conversation. The staid, somber delivery of vocalist João Rui permeates each track, adding to the gravity and strength of the imaginative and poetic lyrics found on Drunken Sailors & Happy Pirates.
This is the third release from A Jigsaw. It’s gripping with strong compositions and great variety, backed by skilled musicianship. In addition to vocals, Rui plays acoustic guitar. Bandmates Susanna Ribeiro and Jorri are multi-instrumentalists, adding fiddle, banjo, harpsichord, piano, and electric keyboards into the lush mixes that exist on Drunken Sailors & Happy Pirates. The entire album flourishes with ripe tracks that fare well on the repeat play scale.
Check out: “The Strangest Friend”
The Strangest Friend is the most accessible song on the album with powerful imagery and rich textures, it exemplifies the complex balance between Rui’s deep, somber vocals and the full explosion of sounds emanating from Ribeiro and Jorri. Crow Covered Tree pounds out piano chords while the fiddle plays hauntingly over dark, powerful lyrics. Remember When begins with just Rui and a guitar, then builds to a marvelous climax. Rooftop Joe is an excellent example of the band’s American roots as banjo and fiddle give way to bassy piano and deep harmonies. The fragile opening chords of The Last Waltz is a melancholy parting kiss between lovers, wonderfully composed and typical of the high production quality found on this album.
Watch: “Crow Covered Tree”
Drunken Sailors & Happy Pirates is a rich, rewarding album. On this third release, A Jigsaw is ready for world domination.
Lyrics – 20/20
Composition – 19/20
Musicianship – 18/20
Production – 20/20
Originality – 9/10
Intangible – 9/10
Overall: 95 (highly recommended: a must buy)
Preview the Album: Drunken Sailors & Happy Pirates
Constant Supply – “Crystal”
Due to file format issue, many of you missed this track when we first post it. It’s damn good, so we have no problem reposting. The Irish duo record a menacing single about love lost. It’s deliciously dark and sometimes droning.
Neil Halstead – “Full Moon Rising”
from Palindrome Hunches
Halstead’s quiet approach recalls Nick Drake. It is without melancholy. It is hopeful, inspiring. We’re looking forward to this album.
Lightouts – “The Big Picture” (single)
The duo from NYC’s Gowanus neighborhood are back with big hooks and driving 90s alt. rock sound. “The Big Picture” is part of a maxi-single with “Push”– a little known Cure cover, and the b-side, “Stray Boy.” Get the maxi-single here.
Videos, videos, videos…
Daniel Ellsworth & The Great Lakes – “Bleeding Tongue”
The Heavy – “What Makes A Good Man?”
Matt & Kim – “Let’s Go”
The Presets – “Youth in Trouble”
Yeasayer – “Longevity”