Pictorial Jackson Review

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The Pictorial Jackson Review is more evidence of Felt's odd approach to a career in rock music. Side one comprises eight songs in the classic indie pop vein -- Marcos Thomas and Lawrence's guitars ring loudly, Martin Duffy's skilfully played Hammond organ swoops in and out, and Lawrence's flat and reedy vocals sing songs of bitterness and irony.

This is indie pop unequaled by any other band of their era, with every song as catchy and memorable as the last. Pick any of the songs on side one and it's going to be a jangle pop classic. Some of them have a light-footed strut, like "Apple Boutique," some of them are melancholy gems that sound like Byrds outtakes ("Until the Fools Get Wise"): most of them have a prickly charm that helps drive the melodies deep into listeners' memory banks. Plus, the marvellous kiss-off "Don't Die on My Doorstep" deserves extra credit for having one of the best song titles of the '80s. Flip the record over and you're met by "Sending Lady Load," a 12-minute ambient piano piece and "Darkest Ending," a moody three-minute tone poem. Martin Duffy presses softly on the keys, and the melodies that result are not unaffecting; in fact, they are kind of pretty in a new age-y way.

Still, you have to wonder what Lawrence was thinking by splitting the record in such different halves. It's certainly a bold decision that serves to reinforce his image as a true iconoclast. Half a brilliant pop record, half music to fall asleep to in the bath -- nobody else would have done that in 1988 and his vision and artistic bravery should be treasured.


Apple Boutique 1:58
Ivory Past 2:02
Until The Fools Get Wise 2:35
Bitter End 2:35
How Spook Got Her Man 1:40
Christopher St 2:26
Under A Pale Light 4:17
Don't Die On My Doorstep 2:20
Sending Lady Load 12:08
The Darkest Ending 3:02