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The Jazz Butcher - Last of the Gentleman Adventurers (Fire Records)

Album cover for the reissue of Last of the Gentleman Adventurers from The Jazz Butcher
18 February 2016

Northampton based artist The Jazz Butcher, aka Pat Fish, is at his laid back best on this reissued collection of songs. The record was originally available in 2012 as a pledge item in a limited run of 1000. But now we have this reissue, which includes Pat Fish (guitar, organ and vocals), Max Eider (guitar and vocals), Tim Harries (bass), Jonny Mattock (drums and percussion), Rich Formby (guitar and harmonium), Owen Jones (accordion) and Sonic Boom (ghost chorus and drones on “Saints Prayer”). If you know Pat’s work, then you know that styles can be all over the place, but here they mostly center around quietly expressed sentiments with elements of jazz, folk, and low key rock and roll. It is a sleepy, nighttime album, with peaceful tracks like “Count Me Out” and opening track “Animals”. “Shame About You” amps up the energy a bit, bringing to mind uptempo Velvets or maybe even Jonathan Richman. The title track is somnolent, jazz-inflected pop, the perfect slow dance for a cold winter’s night. Part of me also imagines a musical line drawn between Pat and Robyn Hitchcock, as much for the vibe as the eccentric nature of it all. “Tombé Dans Les Pommes” is French cafe music, perfect for settling into after a long stroll along the Seine. “All The Saints” ups the energy a little, and is more typical of Pat’s work from the mid to late 80s. Lovely indeed! “Mercy” is heavily reminiscent of late period Velvets, and this is never a bad thing in my mind. “Black Raoul” has a bit of an R&B feel and mines the standard three chord blues riffs heard often in the 50s and 60s. “Shakey” is atmospheric and sentimental, and Pat dedicated the song to Brian Wilson. “Solar Core” kicks it up a bit, but is standard Butcher fare. “Saint’s Prayer” has ghostly voices and is openly psychedelic, even approaching dream pop territory. It is my favorite song here, not only because of the nods to the aforementioned genres, but also because it is stylistically different from the rest of the album. In summary, Last of the Gentleman Adventurers won’t rock you like a hurricane, but its unhurried way of enchanting you with its cool, mellow vibes might just suck you in. Recommended highly by this long time fan.

 

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