September 13, 2001

Test Spins: Jackie-O Motherf*cker

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If you’re one of those rare people who heard JOMF’s most recent album, last year’s superb dissection of American folk, Fig. 5, Liberation should not be too much of a surprise. But with its dense layers of sax, vibraphone, twanging guitars, and only occasional vocals, the average listener will likely not know what to think of this band with the dirty name. Then again, the average listener would be missing out.

Liberation definitely takes a more laidback approach than Fig. 5, aiming for beauty where the previous album exposed the ugliness of the world. On “Ray-O-Graph,” electronic and acoustic beats back up Western-flavored guitars. The band also turns in their most traditional song yet, the folky “Something on Your Mind,” which incorporates a John Cale-inspired violin part. But “In Between” explores typical JOMF territory, weaving a sparse landscape of haunting guitar that reaches towering heights by its climactic end. All told, an exhausting and satisfying musical journey.

Archived article by Ed Howard