There isn’t too much information around about French five piece Jack and the Bearded Fishermen, but the name alone convinced me to give this one a go and I am glad that I did. Since their formation in 2005, the band have “built their universe with distortions and loud melodies, using their own brand of hypnotic melody”
While that may sound a little pretentious at first, one listen to the album and you will see exactly where they are coming from. The ten tracks on here all carry certain uniformity about them. They have roughly the same attributes, pace and melody, but it never feels to repetitive or samey. Instead it has the atmosphere of a much larger piece of work, maybe a narrative or one long piece that has been broken into ten separate chapters.
The musical and vocal harmonies on her build up an amazing sound, one that flows effortlessly through the album and leaves the listener in a most relaxed mood. Jack and the Bearded Fishermen have mastered a way of making music that is chilled out yet noisy, melodic and raucous at the same time. If you think of the way bands like Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr approach their work, you wouldn’t be too far away here. Maybe not quite as loud as when those two iconic bands really open up, but written in a similar way.
The second half of the album follows a slightly different, maybe even darker path. The solemn and slow ‘Wet Black Paper’ followed by the faster (and very Sonic Youth sounding ‘Tina’, with its soaring riff. The ending of the album comes all to soon; with closing track ‘Program’ coming to a sudden end and the album slowly leaves by way of thirty seconds of feedback. Only forty minutes long, which just about perfect length for something like this, leaves you wanting more and doesn’t feel like any track on here is just filler. They all play their part in the broader picture.
It always good to find something new to listen to, and I have endeavoured to track down the previous releases from this excellent band. The contrasts on display here maybe add up to something which shouldn’t work, or shouldn’t work as well as this, but this album is one of those that seems to fly by every time you listen to it. There seems to be a lot of very good bands coming out of France, and right across the musical spectrum, this is another fine example.