Soul Hydraulics – Stephen Jacques (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Having already had a taste of this new album via the wonderfully languid and mysterious James River Swim and knowing from earlier singles that Jacques has an eclectic and singular style, the only thing that you can expect going into this latest album is …the unexpected.

But navigating the unexpected can be a joyous experience, and Soul Hydraulics is certainly one of those times. From the jaunty and joyous Come To Me Marie to the drifting and delicious Golden Gate Crown, from the bustling beat and squalling guitars of Jet Fighter to the otherworldly blues meets soul meets garage rock of latest single Left L.A, it covers a lot of ground.

Jacques does have a signature style but he applies it via such a wide sonic palette that no matter how much of his work you have heard before, there is still plenty of unexpected sonic twists and musical tangents to keep things interesting. But more than that, especially if, like me, you have an ear for a great lyric, there is a sort of Bukowskian turn of phrase which raises the album above even its own, already high standards.

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