The 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.
Artist’s website: http://lukepauljackson.com/