Jamie Hutchings | His Imaginary Choir (s/r)

cd_jamie-hutchings.jpgHutchings is one of those mad geniuses who constructs every aspect of every song in his proverbial bedroom.







Jamie Hutchings is one of my favorite singer-songwriter-vocalists. As the frontman for amazing Australian band Bluebottle Kiss, he’s well recognized for his talent at home yet, despite three U.S. releases on this side of the pond, criminally under appreciated in the United States. According to a comment on Amazon.com for Doubt Seeds, Bluebottle latest release and a two-disc tour-de-force like no other, "Bluebottle Kiss are one of Australia’s most adventurous guitar bands and arguably merit the tag of ‘national musical institution.’"

His Imaginary Choir is Hutchings’ second solo release. It’s still the same voice, the same well-thought-out words, but without Bluebottle’s rock and slow-jam prowess. I’ve always wondered what drives an artist who writes and directs all of his band’s music to release a solo album; isn’t it much the same thing as the full-band effort but with different backing players? Whatever the reason, the disc is a must-have for Bluebottle fans, as well as for fans of thoughtful, carefully constructed songs anywhere.

Following the jovial "After the Flood," Hutchings gives us "The World Goes Tinier"; female voices provide an uplifting chorus behind the refrain. Intricate guitar work introduces the bridge before a piano line takes over. A slower "You Don’t Dance" is a mellow pleaser; this is followed by the intricate guitar work on "Sir, I’m Going to Have to Ask You to Leave." The aching "Nomads" has a bit of a rootsy quality, thanks to what sounds like a pedal steel in the background. "Flamethrower" is an old Bluebottle Kiss song, here rawer and more straightforward, probably as it had initially been conceived.

Whether you slip this disc on as thoughtful background music or up-front intricate brilliance, it’s an enjoyable listen. The instrumentation—at times stripped down and simple, other times orchestral and soaring—is what you’ve come to expect from Hutchings.

The only drawback here is that I’ve got an advanced copy; no lyric sheet to read along with Hutchings’ narratives. However, upon repeat listens, I’m sure lines will become more familiar and insightful; that’s one thing you can count on with this songwriter.

Hutchings is one of those mad geniuses who constructs every aspect of every song in his proverbial bedroom. Though other artists may play on the recordings and live performances, each instrument, each melody and every word are his. That alone is reason enough to love his work, whether with Bluebottle Kiss or on his solo endeavors. A- | Laura Hamlett

Available on import only. For more information, visit http://www.myspace.com/jamiehutchings or http://bluebottlekiss.com

RIYL: Bluebottle Kiss, Ryan Adams, Van Morrison

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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