RECORD STORE - The JAC (Egomaniac Music)
It's a digital four-track single for you and a promo CD for me. We normally don't review "promo only" items but all these cuts are available digitally. If you're a fan and you ask hard enough, The JAC (aka Joe Algeri) might burn a physical copy.
"Record Store" is a cracking pop song, a multi-national (as in collaboration of players from West Australia and Sweden) effort that mixes jangling guitars with sheets of power-pop chording. It's very much in the vein of Algeri's old outfit Jack And the Beanstalk, who bore more than a passing relationship to fellow Perth travellers The Stems and The Chevelles, so you know it's good.
"Fuck It" is a blink-and-you-miss-it minimalist rant while an ethereal cover of Neil's "Heart Of Gold" (synth pop like "Trans") and a bare bones - no, skeletal - take on The Flying Burrito Brothers' "Sin City" bring up the rear. With the exception of "Heart Of Gold", they feel a bit throwaway but if you want fully realised, you'll have to wait for the next album.
"Record Store" is available as a "pay what you like" download at www.thejac.com.au Grab it before it, and record stores, disappear.
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FAUX PAS - The JAC (Egomaniac Records)
Powerpop bliss is the stock-in-trade of The JAC aka Joe Algeri, Perth-based musical elder statesman who's best-known as the leader of '90s outfit Jack And The Beanstalk. After the more recent trans-global-over-the-Net collaboration of The Britannicas, he's back with this inspired long player.
Joe wrote and played everything on "Faux Pas", which is brimful of off-centre pop smarts and tongue-in-cheek whimsy. Is it self-indulgent to lock yourself inside and commit musical thoughts to hard drive with no-one else involved? Not at all - especially when they're good.
More than musings and sketches (which is what demo's would be), "Faux Pas" is fully-realised songs. Joe's a big fan of Ray Davies and his vignettes - and it shows in songs like "Truly Julie & Terry" and "Romano The Dog". He doesn't owe us a thing of course but if only Ray was writing 'em like this today.
"I Play All The Instruments" is the oh-la-la lead-off and broadly indicative of what follows. It's all about self-penning songs and posting them on the Interwebs in the hope that they'll be hits. It worked for the Arctic Monkeys, didn't it? This stuff sure leaves them for dead.
There are clever arrangements at work - check the "Low" stylings of the title track (that one's straight out of Hansa Studios) and the neat '60s throwback garage pop of "Time Machine." There are enough twists and turns in the driving "Julie Got Angry" to throw the Hounds of Hades off the scent and the song's delivered with a massive rush of energy.
"I Refuse" is a big guitar number with chorus to match with a cheesy synth line thrown in at the end for good measure. "Future Computers" turns technology on its head and throws in a dash of "A Day In The Life" crossed with Brian Wilson, folk music and whimsical trippiness.
There's a danger with so much stylistic hopping that you'll leave the listener confused and "Faux Pas" sometimes treads close to the edge. In the end, however, "Faux Pas" is all the more compelling for that. This is a bunch of very good three-minute pop songs just begging to be played. Won't you indulge them?
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