Friday, 15 August 2008

Jacobites - Robespierre's Velvet Basement

Another one of those albums (and bands) I have Tony McCrory to thank for.

Formed by Nikki Sudden (Swell Maps) and Dave Kusworth (guitarist in an early line-up of the Dogs D'Amour, who played on the once highly-collectable The State We're In), the Jacobites were a distinctly lo-fi band. Acoustic-based, songs would often be enhanced by cheap Casio keyboards and basic recording techniques. Three chords were the order of the day.

Robespierre's Velvet Basement was their second album. Originally intended as double LP, Glass Records decided this wasn't financially viable and so it was trimmed down to a single album. Since reissued on CD in its intended length, the album showcases some of the Jacobites finest moments. For me, these tended to be the Kusworth songs (Sudden's voice, with its impediment, polarised even the most ardent fans of the band) - Country Girl and Son of A French Nobleman are particular highlights, although Sudden weighs in with Fortune of Fame and All The Dark Rags, as well as taking the lead on the Stephen ('Tin Tin') Duffy-penned Big Store. Lyrically both Kusworth & Sudden were romantics at heart, with one eye firmly fixed on the past and aspects of this clearly rubbed off onto Tyla who contributed slide guitar to a handful of songs.

Graham Coxon's 2004 album Happiness in Magazines includes a very Jacobites-esque track, All Over Me - complete with simple song structure, basic slide solo and general Jacobites atmosphere - and given Coxon's appetite for music I wouldn't rule out it being intentional.

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