From This Far Back – Jackson Hall LP
With the Cancel the Astronauts debut LP only out for a few months, I wasn’t expecting the New Year to bring the first CTA solo project quite so quickly. But it’s an indication of just how prolific songwriter Matthew Riley is that his first solo release, under the pseudonym of Jackson Hall, has appeared less than 3 months after ‘Animal Love Magic’.
‘Lost Love Songs Vol 1’ stakes out markedly different territory from Cancel The Astros. If you’re looking for a precedent in the band’s repertoire then ‘Shapes’ from the album is probably the closest in tone. But whereas the full band lends an epic quality to that song, LLS is far more intimate with the majority of the songs comprising just vocals and piano.
The record isn’t entirely confined to those two sounds as the addition of discreet and affecting strings to some of songs subtly enhances the mood of the tunes.
At just nine songs , with most not even reaching two and a half minutes, it’s a brief set, but one which, as the title suggests, is an emotional collection of sad songs.
Whilst there are occasional hints of Wells and Moffat (particularly on opening track ‘All Fall Down’) in general the piano playing leans towards classical rather than jazz making it more reminiscent, to these ears at least, of Anges Obel rather than the award winning duo.
The whole record works well as a suite of songs but for my money there’s still a stand-out. The centre-piece of the record is ‘I’ll See It Through’, which is as sad and lovely as the rest of the record but is elevated by a heartbreaking minor chord sequence
You can listen to the record on Bandcamp at the moment but a physical release is promised at some point with volumes 2 and 3 reportedly in the works for later in the year.
In the meantime here’s the aforementioned heartbreaker: