More than 18 months ago, I received an advance copy of the Wildhouse’s latest LP ‘Jackson 56’. At the time, those in the know were proclaiming it the band’s best yet. For whatever reason it’s now not going to get a full release as it’s been replaced in their affections by upcoming release ‘SOLANIS’.

‘Jackson 56’ will consequently be something of a lost release, only being available at gigs and maybe online. Or maybe not.

Which is something of a shame. As I’ve said before of the Wildhouse, they are a true underground band, unbending to the whims of fashion. So ‘Jackson 56’ has little to do with the trends of 2011 but that doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile. Far from it.

The first thing that newcomers will notice is the lack of a bottom end to the sound. There’s no bass (nor bass drums) and that immediately sets it apart from contemporary bands as well as lending many of the songs a glacial sheen.

But the record actually showcases the band’s range exceptionally well – from the pretty (but chillling) Velvets acoustics of ‘I Want You To Love Me’ to the all out sonic assault of ‘My Life As Pop Art’ covering pretty much every point in between. Particular highlights include the driving EVOL-era rock of ‘St Judas’, the drone rock of ‘Manifesto One’.

‘Jackson 56’ is a great introduction to the Wildhouse and well worth seeking out. And if ‘SOLANIS’ is really better than this, it’s going to be pretty awesome.

Your first chance to get ‘Jackson 56’ will be this Saturday (10th) when the band play the Balcony Bar, Dundee with Vladimir and The Cosmic Dead. Expect fireworks.

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