Album Review: Jackson & His Computer Band – Glow

Jackson & His Computer Band is back, and Rory Johnson finds much to admire on his second full length record, Glow.

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Jackson & His Computer Band – Glow
(Warp)

After a lengthy absence from album duties, Jackson & His Computer Band comes at you all guns blazing from the get go on his new LP Glow. Whilst Jackson has been creating the rare superb remix (his verison of Surkin’s ‘White Knight Two’, for example), his overall presence has largely been very sparse following his debut release in 2005, since when the face of electronic music has experienced rapid change.

Like his buddies and contemporaries Justice, his two albums see a similar transition, with a first bright and brash record preceding a more rock/prog-inclined follow up. However, where Justice did not achieve the same dizzying heights on their second record as they did on their first, with Glow, Jackson may have done things the other way around.

This album is an idiosyncratic and refreshing mix of styles. ‘Dead Living Things’ sounds as if someone has lathered distortion and theatre on a Connan Mockasin single, while ‘Blood Bust’ could easily be a Late Of The Pier comeback single. The LP veers through its twelve songs, accompanied by almost Vangelis-like cinematic moments best demonstrated on tracks like ‘Dead Living Things’ and the operatic ‘Orgysteria’. It defies expectations throughout and keeps the listener guessing as to what mood Jackson will use to shape his sound. This large personality combined with a combination of lush, sharp and sometimes aggressive sounds gives Glow its own space in the limelight.

The record is not without its flaws, as its operatic sensibilities can cause forms of fatigue as it nears its conclusion. However, its ambition is something to be celebrated: the album sounds as if it was recorded in a large auditorium and mixed on a mixing desk the size of the M4. Glow deserves shelf space alongside Daft Punk and Tame Impala, even if shoved to the very end. However, one does get the hunch that it won’t be.

Follow Rory on Twitter @iamhungrrr

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