Daystorm Music 2017
From Mississippi to Hudson and beyond, piano player takes a spanner out of works to pull all the stops and reach for outer space.
With this album’s title allusion to John Gray’s book, one could sense certain playfulness on Jack Spann’s sophomore outing, but this record is more serious, mature and bold in its scope than 2016’s "Time, Time, Time, Time, Time" that propelled the young artist towards public view and David Bowie’s attention. By fleshing out several songs from his debut with fresh arrangements to stream blood into the voice-and-ivories framework, Spann has created a new context in which insecurity and urgency are revealed in spiritual pieces such as “Fear Or Loyalty” and “Time” while the likes of “I’m A Bird” show Jack’s not afraid – and is even prone – to smile and soar. The sky’s not the limit here, as the title track, the album’s scintillating bookends, and cinematic interlude “Mars In Twilight” suggest, whereas a piano-driven panache subsides and shapes a paean out of pain, as prog tones and vocal polyphony wash the sadness away.
Wrapping boogie in a chamber garb, “Songman” may wear a weary patch on its groove, yet “Snooty Acres” and “She Makes Pornography On The Weekend” – which display his prowess on blues guitar and bass, and a vaudeville idiom – paint slightly humorous, if ultimately bitter, poetic pictures, although “Just Another Version of You” can’t help but sooth it all when elegant croon and organ push fairground swagger to the fore. There’s paradoxical solemnity in “Lies” whose passionate and punchy chords send Spanner’s reflections around the room, and in the sweet noir notes and female backing of “Deep Inside” that could make this song a favorite for all the downhearted out there, before the infectious whistle in a quasi show tune “Jack Around” gets the punters on their feet to give the artist a well-deserved round of applause.
Looks like Jack Spann‘s finally arrived – perhaps, not from Mars but from a beautiful place… to make our world beautiful, too.