Album: Jackie Leven, Lovers at the Gun Club (Cooking Vinyl)

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Jackie Leven sweats albums at such a rate – two or three a year – that the press release for Lovers at the Gun Club reprints a letter from his label boss chiding him for secretly recording it.

The album follows his usual formula, its tone of melancholy sacrifice evident in titles like "I've Passed Away From Human Love" and "My Old Home", and in the parochial disappointments conveyed by the burger-van and carrier-bag references in "Fareham Confidential"; while Leven's appreciation for verse surfaces in his adaptation of the Kenneth Patchen poem "To Whom It May Concern".

The songs are built around stylish folk-blues settings, from the fingerpicking that carries "Olivier's Blues" to the languid folk-jazz touches imparting a Calexico flavour to "The Dent in the Fender and the Wheel of Fate", and the blend of accordion, synth and electric sitar employed for the title-track, on which guest vocalist Johnny Dowd applies his characteristic lurking menace.

Pick of the album:'Lovers at the Gun Club', 'The Dent in the Fender and the Wheel of Fate', 'Olivier's Blues'

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