Moody, atmospheric and cinematic, you’d never know that Robert ‘Hacker’ Jessett was, in fact, a resident of the Big Smoke, rather than the expansive wilderness of America’s deep South. Not musically anyway. It’s abundantly clear from the vocals, however, that he and his collaborator, Anne Gilpin, are UK born and bred.
Gilpin’s honeyed tones are seductive, like Sarah Nixey of Black Box Recorder fame, but shot through with regret on the lonesome twang of ‘A Tear For Every Year’ – a lover’s lament for her incarcerated partner after he was swept up in the lunacy of the 2011 London street riots.
It’s a powerful, emotive portrait of the big city and its inhabitants, expressing that feeling of solitude that only citizens of the metropolis can really truly understand. “The window is open but there’s nobody home. It really doesn’t seem like such a long time ago,” Jessett sings, forlornly, on ‘Old Love Letters’, and regretfully bemoans having to book a ‘Table For One’ in a string of remorseful, lonely, cold ballads that tug at your heartstrings to such an extent that, by the time the optimistically titled ‘Everything Will Be OK’ has finished, you’re left with an overwhelming feeling that it most certainly won’t be.
Pigeonholed between the shelves of morosity and envelopes of trepidation, there are some almost incidental pieces to complement the overriding movie-like feel of Another Country. Sometimes I wonder why artists bother doing this, but in this instance, it serves to both enhance and intensify the contents within.
This is a gripping piece of work that far outstrips the band’s previous achievements – no mean feat in itself – and ought to engrave them firmly in the nation’s conscience as the best British urban country band, bar none.
Another Country was released on 6th April 2015 through Bastard Recordings.