Like Nico, Jackie Leven draws on literary sources for his album titles, the Don Quixote-derived Oh What a Blow That Phantom Dealt Me! capturing the tortured regret and spiritual deprivation that lurk behind his work. But, unlike Nico, a sense of gallows humour at times spikes his melancholy: "I was thinking whisky as I ordered gin/ It was a wise decision, and I'd do it again," he notes in "Vox Humana", before adding darkly: "But there's a lonely Scotsman crawling under my skin." The sense of wretched solitude in songs like "Another Man's Rain" and "One Man One Guitar" is realised in a variety of settings, from the mellow Caledonian soul of "Kings of Infinite Space", to the bluesy folk-rock of "Childish Blues" and "Silver In Her Crucifix", a tribute to the late singer-songwriter Judee Sill. The equally downbeat Johnny Dowd turns up to intensify the desolation in a couple of tracks, but the weirdest piece is the version of the Rolf Harris novelty "I've Been Everywhere", adapted to a journey across Germany.
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