Adrian Cooper has been unwell

Old reviews that are no longer available online, or from sites that no longer exist. The pen is dead, long live the camera.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

'Somewhere Forever Inside'

You know that bit in Forest Gump when Tom Hanks decides that life is like a box chocolates? Well, in the same manner, Birmingham’s Jameson are a bit like a box of fireworks. Throw in a lit match, and you never know quite what is going to come out; though the chances are that it’s going to fizz and flash for a bit, before exploding into a glorious mess of colour and stars. Tonight the display begins with ‘Eraser’, an effervescent little catherine wheel of a song, all turbulent shapes and shouty bits, before ‘Burden The Process’ and ‘Black Dairy Squeeze’ bring on the big bangs and even bigger flashes of both brightness and brilliance.

Although Jameson rarely stray too far from the comfort of Pavement’s shadow, it’s only on ‘Four Square Fraternity’ that the influence perhaps becomes a little too apparent, maybe borrowing slightly too heavily from ‘Crooked Rain’. In this instance though, there’s no worry of familiarity breeding contempt, as it’s skewed country hooks ease their way under your skin with such ease that you have no defence from their charms, until you’re left feeling safe in the knowledge that if everyone’s favourite slackers choose not to return to their special place in our hearts, we already have a more than adequate replacement so eager to take their opportunity that they’ve started to dig their way into your life by the fourth track. In fact, ‘Four Square Fraternity’ sets their agenda so succinctly that it would take something very special to follow it.

Fortunately Jameson have had the hindsight to do so with ‘Magik Band’, undeniably the true gem in their crown of sparkly little numbers, and a classic by anyone’s reckoning. The guitars lap at your body like a particularly calming tide, washing over you as Stuart tells the tale of his two-fingered, ambidextrous, bass playing hero, before the squalling noise breaks in, thrashing you against the rocks as the adrenaline and excitement threaten to pull you apart in a brief enthralling moment until Stuart guides you back towards tranquillity once more, while proving that it’s possible to that quiet-loud thing without trying to rerecord the Slint back catalogue.

'Somewhere Forever Inside' closes with ‘Sprinkle The Axis’, which leaves Jameson staggering about like those little kids who never learn, the one who pick up the sparklers by the wrong end, those who return to the firework that didn’t go off, only for it explode in their face seconds later, a riotous racket of churning chords and mangled instruments. But, as the man says, they "always get up when they fall down" and surely that’s a message from which we can all learn.

Apparently, their friend Stephen is looking for a magik band, but on this evidence, it appears that he may already have found them. If there’s any justice, some day soon everyone else will realise it as well, but until then, dream on believers.