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CD: Kate Jackson - British Road Movies | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kate Jackson - British Road Movies

CD: Kate Jackson - British Road Movies

Long Blondes frontwoman's long-awaited return

Kate Jackson takes the scenic route on 'British Road Movies'

There was always something otherworldly about Kate Jackson, the voice of late, great Sheffield rockers The Long Blondes. Guitarist Dorian Cox, whose stroke in 2008 precipitated the premature breakup of the band, may have been its primary songwriter but it was Jackson’s voice – cool, poised, arrestingly strident – that set it apart. That the love child of Sophia Loren and Nico was technically a biological impossibility only added to her mystique.

British Road Movies may be Jackson’s solo project, but there’s plenty here for fans of her previous band to devour: the same desolate views of urban sprawl and motorway verges, the same humdrum heartbreak made somehow cinematic. Sonically, these 10 songs – co-written with Bernard Butler of Suede – tend to be softer than the jagged punk of The Long Blondes in their heyday, but they’re also given more space to breathe. Similarly Jackson, while still never knowingly understated, finds room for a little more push and pull in her vocals, her range expanded beyond elegant ennui.

Although the genesis of some of the songs on the album – the twangy, widescreen “Lie to Me” and relentlessly catchy “Wonder Feeling”, in particular – date back to the previous decade, the result never sounds disjointed. It’s a testament both to the neatness of the creative partnership between Butler and Jackson, but also to the strength of the latter’s vision: each song, she claims, was envisaged as one of the “British road movies” of the album’s title and motorways, flyovers and coastal roads recur throughout as scenes of miniature epiphanies or sights on a long drive home. But the films themselves get smaller in scope as the album progresses, from the extended virtual reality of “The End of Reason” to the one-room domestic drama that is “Velvet Sofa From No. 26”.


Below: watch the thoroughly cinematic music video for "The End of Reason"

The films themselves get smaller in scope as the album progresses


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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