This article was written by David Lowes, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Josh Hummerston.
Postcards From Jeff is the stage name of Manchester multi-instrumentalist Joss Worthington. This is his first album, although his efforts earlier in the year (the eponymous EP released in March and the ‘Suburban Girl’ single released in April) have left him in the unenviable position of having to live up to expectations without having an album to his name. The question is thus: has he lived up to what was hoped?
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In a word: yes. In another, probably more accurate, word: kinda.
The best way to analyse this album is chronologically. It starts off with the strange, but undeniably brilliant ‘Suburban Girl’ (a nod to the Twin Peaks character Laura Palmer). Like TP it is bizarre (although he’s thankfully eschewed the backwards talking men), but it sticks on you like a wart plaster.
In a world dominated by overproduced vocals (I’m looking at you NSYNC) it’s somewhat jarring to hear ‘Suburban Girls’’ almost DIY vocal track. It’s refreshing to hear, but it’s a massive risk – if his vocals were weak it’d look very gimmicky. Thankfully they’re strong and the effect is carried off beautifully. We are left with the impression that the rest of the album is just as idiosyncratic.
Skip forward to track 5 and you get what is undoubtedly the high point of the album. ‘Goddess of the Sun’ blasts in your eardrums like a good Pixies number – and Postcards manages to bring it off without deafening us with overdubbed guitars and beats. It’s highly impressive (and might I praise his precociousness?) to have the skill and confidence to try this kind of thing.
Skip forward again until you find track nine, ‘Lay Low’. It’s lyrics are wonderfully written, and they fit the music perfectly. The imagery washes over you like the sea over the Viking it sings about. Although I’d still say ‘Goddess of the Sun’ is the album’s zenith, this comes very close. And it’s those two songs that best showcase Postcards obvious (if nascent) talent.
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That being said, there is an elephant in the room with regards to this this album. It slows down around the middle section – and for no obvious reason. The lyrics are too inconsistent to truly justify a slowdown, it goes from William Shakespeare to Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings in the space of a verse. And the overly-slow music compounds that.
The album showcases Postcards obvious talent for production and songwriting. It might have weaknesses, but then what doesn’t?
‘Modern Language’ is out now via Alien Boutique.