With Melbourne, lo-fi wizard and college drop-out Jackson Scott has done his homework. His debut album offers a heavy dose of hero-worship. Laying down the tracks directly on tape, using a four track and doing pretty much everything himself, emulates Beck or John Linklaus.
It’s not hard to see why. Scott recalls that “I remember riding in the baby seat listening to Nevermind – maybe listening to a junkie sing pop songs subconsciously influenced me as a four year old.”
At it’s worst, this album lays on the morose mimicry too thickly. Evie sounds like Scott’s put all of Radiohead’s in a blender and produced a sonic smoothie with an aftertaste of Paranoid Android and Karma Police. It’s not bad, just … too familiar perhaps?
Never Ever is a fat dopey psych rock wedge that’s so reminiscent of Syd Barrett you can almost smell the patchouli. Elsewhere the album feels like a more listenable Neutral Milk Hotel.
Sandy is the most emotional song on the album. As with much of the album, it’s still vocally deadpan, but it explores the recent Sandy Hook high school massacre in a way that makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.
At his most poppy Jackson Scott’s That Awful Sound fuses a Monkees like vocal with yet another Radiohead tune. Doctor Now is poppy in a different way. It’s like a morose heroin hit. Comforting and frightening. Uplifting and saddening.
Together Forever is all anthemic distortedly kaleidoscopic guitars and slacker lyrics. Its a fusion that works. It hints a little at Slowdive or early Boo Radleys.
It’s hard to tell whether Melbourne is a work of creative genius or Jackson Scott is a master forger. Either way he shows talent.
I think it’s an admirable debut, but a definite crowd-splitter. After my regulation three listens-through I still couldn’t work out whether I thought it was madness or genius. I’m now up to my tenth listen and I’m still not sure. But I am still enjoying it.
by Rob Finch