LUKE JACKSON – Fumes And Faith (Pipe PRCD024)

fumesandfaithThe impact of Luke Jackson’s debut album, More Than Boys, was so great that he was nominated in both the young and senior categories at the 2012 Radio 2 Folk Awards. He didn’t win but that is still quite a feat …and quite an act to follow. So how does the follow-up shape up?

It smacks you straight between the eyes, is how. The opening track, ‘Sister’ is a monster which is surprising given that Luke is supported only by Andy Coughlan’s double bass and co-producer Mason Neeley doing everything else including the insistent handclaps that rattle your ears. It is also a great song and you have to ask yourself how a 19 year old acquired such world-weary insight – and such a voice.

After ‘Sister’ you find yourself worrying that he can’t maintain that standard. Be assured that he can. ‘Father And Son’ and ‘Fumes And Faith’ are more considered but still hard-hitting. ‘Buried Dreams’ is another song of despair, perfect in its simplicity, and now you can hear the influence of Richard Thompson – he’d be proud to have written ‘Charlie In The Big World’ for Charlie is so like one of his square pegs searching for a square hole.

Fumes And Faith continues the narrative that began with More Than Boys but Luke is a very different person now and he can see himself drifting away from the fixed points of his childhood and in ‘Down To The Sea’ he regrets that – but only briefly, for it is followed immediately by ‘Ghost At The Crossroads’ which initially sounds out of place, as though Luke had, for once, dipped into his imagination for a song, but then … This is a remarkable album.

Dai Jeffries

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