Jack - The Jazz Age

HE'S BEEN WALKING THOSE streets again. Stumbling along the same same old roads, his head dizzy with red wine and wild imagery, a dog-eared copy of Lolita poking from his overcoat. He's the poet, the auteur-at-large, spoiling his body with cheap vices to feed his muse. He is Anthony Reynolds, rising literary star with good hair and London is his playground. Or so he'd have us believe, anyway.

As adopted personae go, Reynolds' is hardly original: from Scott Walker to Brett Anderson, England's capital has wreaked havoc with the aesthetic sensibilities of countless artistic sorts. The difficult part lies in convincing the listener that he really is a learned hedonist, a proper sybarite and a devilishly irresponsible womaniser to boot. Oh, and that he doesn't actually live in a Tooting bedsit either. A tough task then, and one Jack tackle with no lack of ambition.

'The Jazz Age' aims high but this seven-piece are all too often deluded by their own sense of grandeur. They want to revel in their epic, swirling ballads when they're merely rehashing the oafish bluster of The Mission ('Love And Death In The Afternoon'), while on 'Nico's Children' Reynolds plays the world-weary Scott Walker, narrating a tale of doomed dole-queue love as the band whip up a Jacques Brel pastiche. Impressive, yes, but if you want show-stopping operatics about urban decay then buy 'Dog Man Star'.

Until they find them, Jack are helping Reynolds search for his true identity in the litter-strewn streets he so loves. Maybe they'll surprise us next time.


Piers Martin