In 2013 Jacko Poli demonstrated the strength of his voice, his talent as a musician, and his insight into the human psyche with the songwriting on his debut album – ‘The Chords for No Noise’. The question is, how do you measure up to something like that? The answer: make an album like “Jagged Recollections”. It’s a tight, concise 11-track album that totally avoids the sophomore slump associated with most bands. On it songwriter and vocalist Jacko Poli is joined by Grant Henderson – drums, percussion, keys and backing vocals, Luke Hirst – guitars, Craig Walker – trumpet and David Tattersall – piano. The album was produced by Loom Studio.
“Jagged Recollections” is set for official release sometime during November and we received a copy of the studio mixed tracks as a preview for what’s in the works. There are no wasted notes or time on this album – none! It is filled with razor sharp hooks and terrific musicianship, particular the simple but spectacular drumming courtesy of Grant Henderson. The often cryptic, but snidely clever and evocative lyrics and singing of Jacko Poli is obviously the main asset.
The production is noticeably a little cleaner and polished than the debut album, but I don’t feel like it detracts from Jacko’s overall sound, as it still has that characteristic raw edge. The songwriting here, as with the last record, is fantastic. I honestly expected a drop off from ‘The Chords for No Noise’, largely because that album was so great. I’m glad to report there is no fall off here; instead I would even place “Jagged Recollections” ahead of their debut.
The moment the album kicks off with the lead single, “Because It Burns”, Jacko Poli and his band is hopelessly cute yet they make very grown-up rock. This album is darker, harder, and more complex than the first, but it’s got at least as many pop hooks, romantic moments, and devilishly clever quips–in other words, you’re going to love it. The range of songs here is impressive: from the hardcore rocking of “You Are” to the sensitive-guy romantic tale on “I Cling To You”. Part of Jacko Poli’s appeal is that he is able to tell a story with equal veritas from many points of view.
The music throughout “Jagged Recollections” shows an impressive ability to absorb ideas without sounding derivative. Starting off with the propulsive, exhilarating “Lines Of Love” shows a band determined not to take themselves too seriously, but at the same time prove they mean it. The guitars, both electric and acoustic are flawless, especially on tracks like “Above The Ceiling”, “China Town” and “UFO”, while the pianos shimmer and shine on “Slow Mo”, “Riot All” and “Fly”. Everywhere, Jacko’s singing is brilliant as well, yet I’m even starting to wonder as to whether his talent as a lyricist is slowly beginning to overshadow his talent as a vocal stylist too – that’s the measure of his songwriting!
The guitar interplay from Luke Hirst is hot, while multi-instrumentalist, Grant Henderson, keeps the wildly changing songs solid, along with David Tattersall’s piano, and trumpeter Craig Walker deserves some sort of special award- his style is both fluid and precise and adds an exquisite dimension to Jacko Poli’s sound. If you are already a Jacko Poli fan, you know how good they can be. If you are unfamiliar with them and just curious, then I highly recommend “Jagged Recollections” which has the same raw energy as their debut album, but more mature and sophisticated song structures.