Saturday, 13 October 2018

Connan Mockasin - Jassbusters, album review

Sweet Originality

This is the first time I have heard Mockasin’s work, and opener Charlotte’s Thong intrigues immediately, a slow funk groove with a subtle and quite original guitar lead, and then when Connan sings there is the immediate fragility of a voice with its falsetto breaks, and other breakages. That guitar is really quite beautiful, and the vocal does have a slight dissonance that pulls against, but this is the energy in an otherwise soothing instrumental. And then as the song enters into its seventh minute, the in-and-out guitar tuning meanders around the overall prettiness like an insinuation. Then a sudden stop.

Second Momo’s is gloriously sweet and harmonising, more guitar work plucked delicately as the vocal continues to develop, a spoken accompaniment along the sung melody. Something squeaks in among the dialogue and distant-dialogue that opens third track Last Night, and this becomes a Prince-esque ballad, the vocal as falsetto-perfect and playful as its precursor. In researching, I have read that vocals on previous albums have often been pointedly spirited, yet I don’t think that is what is happening here. But it is quite distinctive, and continues with what makes this sound genuinely original.

You Can Do Anything indulges in more bended guitar playing, here creating a strange imposter of the oriental, and I have to say again it is intriguing – seemingly new and fresh in establishing a signature. Con Conn Was Impatient continues the slow pace of these songs, the voice a falsetto slur around another clear guitar line. Eerily beautiful.

Listening to so much sameness these days, even when excellent within that frame, this album is a superb divergence and development. Can’t wait to listen again.

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