(I Can't Get No) Stevie Jackson
I'll say this for the indie rockers: they sure know how to collaborate. They also sneak off for side projects; the scene is a fertile breeding ground these days. Belle & Sebastian guitarist Stevie Jackson took off for a few weeks and spun out this 12-cut wonder with his buds from The Company, Bill Wells and a long stream of the up-and-coming.
Musically, Jackson assembles a pleasant and well-rounded collection of songs full of clever lyrics and catchy melodies. The sound mix is full and luscious. It's not that there's a full orchestra hanging out, but a violin here and a mandolin there and just a touch of reverb make this disc sound warm and full. "Just, Just so to the Point" raps over a jazzy backbeat, a choir on a multitrack backs him up, and he sings "Get yourself a backbone, you're no invertebrate." Truer words were never spoken, at least not on my laptop. "Richie Now" opens with a country twang; this might be the cut Bill Wells contributes to, although that's just a guess. "Man of God" bounces in like The Monkees bippity bopping through a Brill building pop tune, and "Where Do All the Good Girls Go?" thunks along like an old Animals backing track. There's plenty of pop sensibility here; it's not exactly B&S, but a nice deviation. It's double plus good.