Fat Possum Records, 2013
Reviewed by Kent Manthie
This new vehicle for Asheville, NC native, Jackson Scott, Melbourne, has a representative taste – some “Upper South” roots are inevitably present, but with a fine melding of atmospheric space textures that wave across the mind like ether.
The album starts out with a minute ½ “Our Eternal”, an instrumental, ambient prelude to a graceful set of glossy, starry-eyed gems. Tunes like “Tomorrow”, “Never, Ever” and “Wish Upon” feature wistful strums of acoustic guitar overlaid with synthesizer-driven, dreamland pop candy and “Any Way” is a cute, high-pitched, romp around the toy-store, followed up by “Together Forever”.
On the latter (“Together Forever”) Scott features the guitar – electric, this time – more prominently; it’s a mid-tempo, beat-heavy trip that starts to unravel into a chaotic electric storm towards the last minute and a half. “In the Sun” is a tiny bit reminiscent of the late Elliott Smith – a simple, acoustic ditty that has a plaintive vocal which is hummable and catchy.
Hard to pigeonhole, that’s for sure. But one could argue that Jackson Scott is an American Marc Bolan figure for the future, something that only a really die hard T. Rex fan might appreciate, I say this because of the fascinating ways that Scott comes up with these complex but lovable musical structures that permeate the various songs. This is really worth sitting down and listening to – in fact, I suppose the argument can be made that even though there are 12 songs on it, Melbourne is only about 30 minutes long, which is the typical length for your average EP. This is Scott’s debut, so maybe he didn’t want to put too much on here right away, possibly scaring away potential fans and wanting to impress with a minimalistic approach, numerically speaking, that is.
One other fact about Melbourne is that, since it is his debut and Jackson probably wants to endear himself to listeners – especially in this day and age where so many people are loath to purchase stuff like music, news, books (well, maybe books haven’t lost their value), et cetera, someone’s more likely to say “oh, a free album. I’ll check it out!” rather than “a new album: by – who? And they want HOW MUCH for that? No thanks…” – that is, sadly, an attitude all too common in this A.D.D. age, where so much is ephemeral, there’s not a lot of intangibles out there anymore that can find a foothold and reach solid ground, thanks, mostly, to the internet and all the free stuff associated with it. That has proved to be a very, very good thing – for me as much as anyone. But, I can see, from the artists point of view, how it can be frustrating to be passed up for something that doesn’t deserve a penny of yours (any picture of bimbos who are famous for no reason and have zero talent, never produced anything, never done anything noteworthy, won’t be remembered for any contribution to society at all – you know the ones I mean (the names aren’t worth mentioning-they only muddy up my document).
So, take full advantage of this free download – just type “Jackson Scott – Melbourne” on your Google search bar and you’ll get to where you can download this terrific debut. It’s a great deal, honestly. 20 years ago, something as good as this wouldn’t be sitting around on the web, waiting for people to find it and download it for no cost. Yes, if only Fat Possum Records could do some marketing for this guy and help spread the word – this is a work that deserves some earnings. Let’s hope this giveaway sparks some interest and that he comes back with more, possibly even better stuff soon and next time, no more free stuff! Whew! –KM