Inpress My Lucky Day Review

A positive review of Jack Howard’s “My Lucky Day” album by InPress magazine.

Author: EJ Cartledge, InPress magazine.

Date: August 2007.

Original URL: (Not Available)

 

Article Text

A few familiar chords into opening track Let Me Live and one could be forgiven for thinking it’s Hunters & Collectors circa Human Frailty all over again. And this is no bad thing… if the rest of trumpeter extraordinaire Jack Howard’s third full solo release tilted its hat to retrospective sentiment then swags of the remaining faithful would feel satisfied. But this is no indulgent wander down memory lane, no pub-rock training run. Rather, My Lucky Day (and the accompanying six-track EP Don’t Fade Away) is a superb, assured and contemporary collection of blissful pop, bluesy rock, Latin-tinged shuffles and poignant, melancholic sketches. Sure, the instrumentation and atmospherics provide a point of difference to Howard’s old gang, particularly with the inclusion of Ed Bates on pedal steel, but that’s a great disservice to Howard, whose songwriting must now rank beside those with far mightier compositional reputations.

Beautifully produced, My Lucky Day alternately soothes and skips along, coloured with sweet harmonies and, naturally, brass flourishes – Howard on trumpet, Russell Davis on French horn and David Mowat on trombone. On a remarkably consistent album, two tracks above all else testify to the delights contained within. The first, Will You Wait, seems simple enough at first, a gentle lovers’ ode over picked notes and pedal sweeps, but is then effortlessly transformed by gorgeous harmonies and chord progressions from heaven, not to mention a patented Howard trumpet pattern. The second, Sailing Home, is far and away the record’s standout piece. Over a hypnotic guitar run and mesmerising, mournful brass (“trumpet doubled with a trumpet detuned down the octave” says Jack), the song is a timeless on-the-road tale of return and lament: Further on to Corangamite and Wendouree / Ghosts everywhere in the roadside stops / And the cattle yards / Oh I’m sailing home to you…

Interestingly, the bonus EP with Howard accompanied only by guitarist John Berto manages to compliment the fully-backed preceding album and yet provide its own intimate rewards. Percussion-free and loose-limbed, the material is quieter, darker and utterly beguiling, with the haunting and powerful Restlessness a particular highlight. Howard sparked the critics’ interest with 2004’s Let’s Fall In Love. One would hope My Lucky Day will find a wider audience as this is one of the great unexpected pleasures of the year.

 

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