30 Jul 2013
David A Jaycock "Ten Songs" Review
Reviewed by Nathan Ford
Big Eyes Family Band alumni David A Jaycock is a bit of an oddity on the English folk scene. With an elliptical acoustic guitar style that owes as much to the Takoma school of John Fahey as it does to the more close to home influences of Bert Jansch et al, and a fondness for blanketing his carefully considered vignettes with archaic seventies synth sounds, Jaycock's music has a distinctly English quality that drips home counties atmosphere.
Take spooky opener "Ghosts and Gold" , a moody, almost Edwardian ghost story sparingly illustrated with concise, effective language and an unusually fluid, yet mechanical guitar accompaniment that stops and starts like a vintage Victorian wind up music box.
"Brighton Morgue" continues the ornate fingerstyle guitar work, but also introduces some startling, heavy synth drones, layered with so much weighty malevolence that it would have been vetoed off a mid seventies Pink Floyd record - heavy stuff, but with a stark beauty.
Haunted fairground opus "Decanting Sand" is perhaps the most attention grabbing cut here and highlights Jaycock's strengths - intricate fingerstyle guitarwork, compelling vocals and a woozy psychedelic air provided by (possibly) a theremin and tumbling, kaleidoscopic synths expertly crafted for a headfirst trip down the rabbithole.
You've probably gathered by this point that "Ten Songs" is mostly a moody beast. While that's certainly true, it's also strangely easy to get into. Those in the know have told me that of his numerous releases "Ten Songs" is by far his most accessible, and James Yorkston has been vocal in his support ("best album of the year", that man has said).
It's certainly a more focused work than previous material I've heard of his, with an increased use of vocals adding an extra layer of humanity that despite it's dark trappings, makes this an easy album to engage with.
Perfect music for a slightly overcast Sunday morning, or a lonesome evening in front of the fireplace.
Available here - it's a bargain!