Stevie Jackson | (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson (Banchory Recordings)

Best known as “the other songwriter” in Belle & Sebastian and the lead guitarist for the recently reunited Vaselines, Stevie Jackson finally claims the spotlight with his first solo album.

 

 

Best known as “the other songwriter” in Belle & Sebastian and the lead guitarist for the recently reunited Vaselines, Stevie Jackson finally claims the spotlight with his first solo album, the wonderfully titled (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson. Writing and recording the album in bits and pieces in Jackson’s native Glasgow and in Vancouver (the latter with some assistance from the New Pornographers’ rhythm section, Kurt Dahle and John Collins) over a period of five years, Jackson neither duplicated his main gig’s chamber pop sound nor rebelled against it, but rather just followed his muse wherever it took him. There are tributes to his favorite movie directors (“Just, Just So to the Point,” a song about John Huston whose video game-sounding keyboards and rapid fire vocals sound vaguely Flight of the Conchords-ish, and “Kurosawa,” a bright and bold acoustic shuffle accented with horns, viola, and even fake pigeon coos), paeans to his favorite music (“Richie Now,” a memory of a childhood friend and musical collaborator that recalls the pre-Rubber Soul-era Beatles songs it namedrops, and “Man of God,” a bit of throwback soul—about using Donny Hathaway records to pick up chicks—with high-and-light vocals and electric piano that would be quite at home on a song by Sloan’s Jay Ferguson), and songs written for friends’ creative exercises (“Bird’s Eye View,” a quiet, pretty folk song about a dilapidated housing development that recalls John Denver with its gently strummed acoustic guitar, hushed vocals, and avian imagery). The undisputed highlight is “Press Send,” which explores the morning-after regret of sending an email admitting one’s romantic feelings for a friend with a bit of Everly Brothers jangle and backing vocals that gleefully chirp “Don’t send, do send, don’t send, do send!” The results aren’t necessarily revelatory, but they are pleasant, sunny, and a lot of fun, and prove (as if B&S songs like “Jonathan David” and “To Be Myself Completely” hadn’t already) that Jackson is definitely a songwriter worth “getting.” | Jason Green
 
Get in Stevie Jackson’s head! Check out his song-for-song commentary for (I Can’t Get No) Stevie Jackson at StevieJackson.net/songs!

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