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- Chair Beside a Window by Jandek
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7/10 Vern Customer review, 22nd October 2013
Tuned guitars are over-rated right? I certainly think so after having listened to this lp from the elusive Jandek who I only recently discovered after it was mentioned by Stones Throw Records that the brilliant Madvillain lp's cover is inspired partly by Jandek's 'The Living End' lp cover. An interesting tale which led me to look up Jandek and I discovered very little to be known about him except that he's release a slew of records himself all in a homemade kinda way. I couldn't help think of Keaton Henson, the modern version with the mysterious character and homemade music. I find that there's something kinda shifty about the interview shy Henson who suffers from severe stage fright yet finds time to charge £20 a pop whenever he does "get over his fear of performing".
Anyway that does not relate here, Jandek is still very much an enigma whose prolific outpouring of music has still not told us much more about him. Another comparison with Henson (and I think the comparison is unavoidable) is the stripped down, dreary ballads full of emotion and just a great ability to wield the guitar.
Henson's albums such as Birthdays, which I do own and enjoy, are different to Jandek's in the way that Henson deals with singles, the music is not an album to fall for and listen to all the way, however I'd argue that Jandek achieves this.
Perhaps it is due to the fact that he has a blues/psychedelic type feel which can deal with a stripped back format being put into 30min rather than a ballad style which can get monotonous and confused. I also think it has to do with Jandek's use of more instruments. A harmonica piercing through 'You think you know how to score' really makes this short track jump from the previous, single guitar track. There are also drums and a female vocalist on 'Nancy Sings', who gives the track a Laura Marling type feel. Another quality it has is a relaxing, hypnotic feel, giving it that psych feel. It's the kind of album that could rumble along forever.
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