‘Melody Cycle’ by Jack and The’ - sweeping complicated symphonic eccentricity(February 05, 2016)
Three times all the way through in two days and I’m still having trouble pinning down what I’ve heard. Herding cats springs to mind because once you believe you’ve got it, it’s off somewhere else. Jack and The' is a musical project brought to life by Julien Lonchamp, a Frenchman-in-exile in Edinburgh, who creates a sweeping complicated symphonic eccentricity called ‘Melody Cycle’. Apparently, the result of four years effort, ‘Melody Cycle’ involves 18 musicians, a brass quintet and a seven-piece ensemble of woodwinds, brass, percussion and strings.
So what do you get? Well it’s certainly involving, essentially ‘happy’ and somewhat bemusing music. It’s awash with unusual directions and intriguing pathways. There are gentle harmonies and echoing vocals. There’s a huge, sweeping soundscape that progresses through a variety of musical and vocal expressions. There’s also a recurring feeling that you have somehow slipped into an ‘orchestral pop’ experience from somewhere in the late 1960’s with strange psychedelic overtones. The track list itself is redolent of influences from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, ranging through ‘I Think I’m Dancing’ and ‘Saharan Sands’ to ‘The Secret Part of Town’, ‘Entropy and Me’ and ‘The Duchess’ Latest Whim’.
The album releases 22 February and Jack and The' tour ‘Melody Cycle’ through the UK, France and Belgium in Spring 2016. Eccentric or not I shall go along to one of its performances, just to make sure I didn’t fall asleep and tumble down a rabbit hole. Website: www.jackandthe.co.uk
Review: Charlie Elland