Jesse Marchant - Illusion of Love - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Jesse Marchant - Illusion of Love

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2018-01-26
Jesse Marchant - Illusion of Love
Jesse Marchant - Illusion of Love

I certainly hope that not every aspiring musician has to be hit by a school bus while riding a bike to his day job just so they can come up with an excellent album. Jesse Marchant did both of those things. He got hit by a rampaging bus (landing on his head, no less) and came up with an excellent album, Illusion Of Love, his fourth.

Taking a cursory look at the list of contributors to this album, you might tend to attribute that to people who worked with Kevin Morby, Bob Weir, The War On Drugs, The National and so on. And yes, they certainly chip in their share. Just listen to the band cooly rampage to the more uptempo track here, the Springsteen-like “Heart Of Mine,” or even more so, the brilliant “6 & 5.”

But then, nothing would probably have worked if Marchant himself didn’t come up with some great songs and if he didn’t have a singing voice that is a cross between Damien Jurado and Jim James. And he uses it to great advantage on cool ballads like the opener “All These Kids I Never Knew” or “I’ve Got Friends.” And whoever did the string arrangements, like the one on “In This Short Time,” should definitely be given extra credit.

What is particularly rewarding is that Marchant doesn’t stick to what could be a standard division between uptempo numbers and ballads, but brings quite a few variations within the tunes themselves, like in the exceptional “Frame For One.”

Like with many singer/songwriters, the connecting glue between ordinary and good/great lies in the lyrics. Whether it is a deft touch with ‘standard’ love themes, like in “Burning Red” ("We could drive into the night / I’d play the songs you like / And let you sleep when you get tired”), or a more pointed commentary, like in “I’ve Got Friends,” "Nowadays you can make a show of your life / to convince yourself of its worth / what do you think of my private vacation?”

Everything on Illusion Of Love has a logical musical flow, including the meticulously placed song order. The fact that all of them reach an exceedingly high standard really helps.

I’m certain that Marchant’s accident that happened in 2016 made him fully reflect on everything, including his music, but hopefully no more of those, and more of albums like this one.

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