8/10 Clinton Staff review, 07 January 2014
I’m starting to get what you might want to call ‘senior moments’, not least when my dad asked me if I’d heard the new Jonathan Wilson record and I replied that I hadn’t but then again I’d not heard the first one either. He reminded me that I had heard the first one and that I’d liked the majority of it but thought the songs were a little long and indulgent. How my befuddled brain is going to cope with this extravagantly crafted, complex beyond belief follow up is anyones guess.
Jonathan Wilson is the Laurel Canyon dreamer who appears to be mates with everyone. On this album alone he employs Jackson Brown, a Crosby and Nash, one of the Tom Petty lads and a Fleet Fox. Regardless, opening track ‘Fanfare’ starts out dreadfully with pounding Phil Collins drums and what sounds the breakdown bit of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, things improve vastly when the vocals come in and I can now see what he’s up to. He’s trying to recreate Dennis Wilson’s 1977 pop/soul opus ‘Pacific Ocean Blue’ which is fair enough but in no way excuses the utterly horrific sax solo he tacks on the end. The words ‘egging’, ‘over’ and ‘pudding’ spring to mind.
‘Cecil Taylor’ is much more laid back piece and way better for it. Nash and Crosby combine here to good effect and it particularly recalls Crosby’s psychedelic acoustic soul concocted in the era Wilson no doubt wishes he lived through. Its a gorgeously lazy West Coast jam, you can almost feel the breeze drifting through the open window of Wilsons Laurel Canyon hideaway. He has a major problem in knowing when to stop a song, though, the beautiful acoustics slowly disappear and are replaced by eerie vocals exchanges ruined by the most hideous guitar fret wankery. If Neil Young failed to return Wilson’s calls, then he certainly appears in spirit on ‘Illumination’, another slow jam with big chunky swarthes of distorted guitar and high pitched vocals.
There are some gorgeous moments; ‘Dear Friend’ has an achingly familiar melody , recalling most obvious the theme tune from ‘Tales of The Unexpected’ before lurching into a staggeringly drunken mid section, somewhere between Pink Floyd and 70’s era Love. ‘Her Hair Is Growing Long’ is an outrageously evocative piece of late 60’s, early 70’s era drug induced folk. Think David Crosby on ‘If only I Could Remember My Name’ or Gene Clark’s ‘No Other’ opus. And if you think its all getting a bit hippy dippy along comes ‘Love to Love’ which appears to be on a completely different album altogether. Perhaps one bearing the name ‘Bruce Springsteen’.
‘Fanfare’ is nothing if not ambitious, Jonathan Wilson seems to be attempting create a shrine to the music of his 70’s soft rock heroes and put it into a great big melting pot. There are some missteps for sure but there are some incredible moments if you can keep your brain working.
10/10 joel Customer review, 20th December 2013
Awsome bit of vinyl with the wonderfull adventure in music that is Jonathan Wilson. Great to see superb artwork and the pale blue vinyl is the finishing touch. Buy it!!!
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- Fanfare by Jonathan Wilson
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