As his debut solo record, comprised of 9 gorgeous tracks, Sandgrown is the hometown-inspired creation of British experimentalist Jack Cooper. Whilst Blackpool provided the specific inspiration for this evocative piece, the nostalgia is universal and is designed to move individuals from any corner of the world.
8/10 Clinton Staff review, 31 August 2017
Blackpool. I love/hate it. I have a particular fascination with the North West Coast of England's seaside resorts. See also: Lytham, Morecambe, Southport. There's something otherworldly about all of them but Blackpool is the one you'd prefer to peer at through a telescope whilst sitting far enough away not to be sprayed in vomit. Like Morecambe, if you stand with your back to it it's gorgeous and there's that permanent melancholy about the place - what do people do there on, say, a monday morning in winter? Ultimate Painting singer Jack Cooper grew up in nearby Poulton Le Fylde and here writes a loving postcard to his hometown from the safe distance of his London lair.
Like a lot of the music of Ultimate Painting it references past masters such as Lou Reed, Creedence and Harry Nilson but I'd say that this is a more refined and less coloured in set of songs that generally do the same thing in a more sepia-tinged fashion. It's a set of laid back songs which are topped off by Cooper's slightly wavering voice. I'm drawn to the instrumentals 'Sandgrown Parts 1 and 2' which evoke picture postcards, the sea at night and sand getting everywhere. But otherwise Coopers slightly transatlantic drawl ensures the album never really sounds like the paeon to the north that the artwork and concept suggest. This is both a good and bad thing in that I'd like to have sensed Blackpool and the feeling that I get from it within the music but (instrumentals excepted) this doesn't really happen. There again it's hard to imagine Lou Reed strutting down the pleasure beach.
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- Sandgrown by Jack Cooper
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