Jazz Butcher - Last of the Gentleman Adventurers

by Rob Taylor Rating:9 Release Date:2012-12-13
On Last of the Gentleman Adventurers, The Jazz Butcher occasionally combine jangle-pop with the jazz stylings of Grant Green, that formidable Blue Note artist whose characteristic tone was warm, clean and silky, rather than flat and muddy. On some of the tracks, the only difference is that the guitars have a lap-steel shimmer about them, vaguely Polynesian in effect.
 
On opener ‘Animals’, the Gretsch plays some lovely melodic runs, and the song is transformed into a wonderfully unhurried piece of chamber-pop. This is also shared in mood with the title track, which in my imagination could be sung by Richard Hawley, a bachelor’s woozy late-night ballad. Ditto ‘Saints Prayer’. 
 
‘Shame About You’ combines the sophisticated indie-pop artistry of Lloyd Cole with the jangle pop of contemporaries like Orange Juice or The June Brides, but ‘Tombe Dans Les Pommes’ returns to those sparkling jazz guitar chords, with vocals borrowing deeply from the tradition of chanson.
 
The beauty of Last of the Gentleman Adventurers is in this freedom of expression. The album was crowd-funded and self-released back in 2012, with the practical consequence that Pat Fish and company could wilfully and self determinedly dig deep into their musical well. Whatever the commercial outcome, the sponsoring fans would be re-paid for their generous pledges. Reportedly the money required for recording and production was raised in one day, a measure of the respect they’ve garnered over their thirty year career. 
 
The good people at Fire Records are re-releasing the Jazz Butcher’s albums, and fittingly the richly diverse Last of the Gentleman Adventurers is the first.
 
On ‘Black Raoul’ the groove is infectious, aided by keyboard sustain and special effects, like The Jazz Butchers were writing for a 1960s spy soundtrack. The torchlight ballad ‘Shakey’ combines the pisshead beauty of Arab Strap with the melodic simplicity of the Velvet Underground, and brought to a devastatingly lovely close by the graceful unleashing of the band’s full resources. 
 
At 1:40 ‘Solar Core’ manages to segue brilliantly into garage rock-pop reminding me straight away of The Sunnyboys or the Hoodoo Gurus, more surprises up Pat Fish’s sleeve. 
 
The Jazz Butchers were completely off my radar to be honest. That’s the beauty of musical obsession, it can be perpetually fed, and this is first class dining. 

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