JACK AND THE’ – Melody Cycle (Folkwit Records FO129)

Melody CycleJack and The’ is the brainchild of composer/ singer/ multi-instrumentalist Julien Longchamp and Melody Cycle has been a long time coming. It’s a bit of a monster featuring fifteen musicians in addition to the six-piece core band – and you have to love a brass group called Quintet Tarantino.

This album sounds quite unlike anything else you’ve ever heard. There’s hints of ragtime in ‘Little Things’, elements of classic pop overlaid with found sound in ‘I Think I’m Dancing’ and an overall feel of big band standards with all those instruments and massed backing vocalists.

Some of the songs are weird but clever. ‘Chicory Salad’ rejoices in such lines as “smells like a palindrome” and “tastes like a paradigm” – what does it all mean? I really couldn’t say. ‘Dinner At The Andersons’’, one of the best songs, is introduced by what sounds like a pair of cheap synthesisers topped with slightly cheesy drums before the brass and vibraphone come in to sweep the song away.

I have to reiterate that I don’t really understand the over-arcing concept here but I do like the music. As is often the case with Folkwit’s releases this album isn’t going to come to you easily but the journey to find it is a very enjoyable one.

Dai Jeffries

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Artists’ website:  www.jackandthe.co.uk

‘Melody Cycle #1’ – official video: