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Jack - The Jazz Age (too pure)

Another too clever by half title to indicate that, hey we're not just musicians, we read books too. Intentionally and none too subtly borrowing the kudos of Fitzgerald and Nabokov (Lolita Elle) Jack follow up the often genius Pioneer Soundtracks with something altogether less impressive. The further reading section included in the sleeve notes, Rupert Brooke, John Fante and of course Nabokov indicates the kind of self-conscious superiority that The Jazz Age oozes.

The sombre strings that open "3 o' clock in the morning" are the best thing about The Jazz Age, as all too swiftly Jack moves into a half-way house between Jarvis Cocker and the mock-Gothic of Kingmaker with The Divine Comedy popping round for tea. Names are dropped like kids dropping bricks on pensioners - there is no comprehension of what they're actually doing. Pablo Picasso, Orpheus, Cocteau, Warhol all ride shotgun in case, for a moment you might think that Jack aren't graduate material. This intellectual insecurity effectively undermines The Jazz Age's ambitions, and makes it seem a poor relation to the lyrical dexterity and invention that the likes of The Divine Comedy and Pulp effortlessly display.

by Rob Lowe

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