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Friday, December 2, 2011

Jack Green - Humanesque~, Reverse Logic*

Artist: Jack Green
Album(s): Humanesque~, Reverse Logic*
Year(s): 1980~, 1981*
Style: Singer/Songwriter Guitar Rock
Similar Bands: Bryan Adams, Graham Parker, Dave Edmunds, Marshall Crenshaw, Walter Egan, Tom Petty
"One-Word" Review: Mysteriously-Smoky-Guitar-Rock
Based Out Of: Glasgow, Scotland
Label: RCA, Victor
Humanesque - Cover & Sleeve
Humanesque - Back & Sleeve
Reverse Logic - Cover & Sleeve
Reverse Logic - Back & Sleeve
Humanesque & Reverse Logic Records


Humanesque (1980)~
  1. Murder 3:21
  2. So Much 3:53
  3. Valentina 4:23
  4. Babe 3:34
  5. Can't Stand It 3:36 /
  6. I Call, No Answer 3:32
  7. Life on the Line 4:06
  8. 'Bout the Girl 3:00
  9. Though It Was Easy 2:46
  10. Factory Girl 2:51
  11. This Is Japan 3:11
Reverse Logic (1981)
  1. One by One 3:39
  2. Why Don't You Let Me Go 4:24
  3. Cold Modern Days 3:52
  4. When I Was Young 3:23
  5. It's A Hard World 3:52
  6. Let it Rock 2:56 /
  7. Too Many Fools 3:05
  8. Set Me Free 3:42
  9. Brave Madonna 3:28
  10. Sign of the Times 5:24
  11. Promises 3:31
Album Rating (1-10): ~7.0
* 6.5

Members & Other Bands:
Jack Green - Vox, Guitar, Producer (T Rex, The Pretty Things)~*Cover Concept~*
Ritchie Blackmore - Guitar (Deep Purple, Rainbow, Blackmore's Night, The Lancasters, The Dominators)~
Brian Chatton - Keyboards (Boys Don't Cry, Jackson Heights)~*
Mel Collins - Saxophone (Camel, Pezband, King Crimson, Kokomo, 21st Century Schizoid Band)~*
Andy Dalby - Guitar~*
Ian Ellis - Bass (Savoy Brown)~*
Mac Poole - Drums~
Pete Tolson - Guitar (Electric Banana, The Pretty Things)~*
John Warwicker-Le Breton - Design~ Photo*
Peter Kuys - Executive Producer~* Management*
Ron Aronstein - Engineer~
Phil Bodger - Engineer~
Dom Romeo - Mastering~
Dennis Taylor - Production Advisor / RCA UK Coordinator~
Regis Silas - RCA US & A&R Coordinator ~*
Nick Sangiamo - Photo~
Jo Julian - Engineer*
Llew Horowitz - Engineer~*, Title Concept~Mastering Supervisor*
Mike Pela - Engineer*
Greg Fulginiti - Mastering*
Barry Oslander - Mastering Supervisor*
Ed Dejoy - Mastering Supervisor*
Simon Fox - Drums* (Be Bop Delux)
George Serghi - Vox*
John McBurnie - Vox* (Jackson Heights)

Unknown-ness: I’ve never heard of Jack Green before, but the albums looked like fun, and the dates were 80 & 81, so these are most definitely going to be guitar driven singer/songwriter tunes, but how good will they be? I don’t know if they will lean toward new wave or Americana folk guitar. But I’m game to hope for the first. Just from the design from Humanesque, it looks angular and fun. I like his style on the back too. And the second record looks a little glam. And I do dig the color scheme based on his last name. It is an easy creative decision that I’m happy to indulge.

Album Review: ~“Murder” starts as a bass-heavy70’s rock song, like foreigner or something a bit smoky with a touch of danger. It is a good album starter, because the whole song feels like it is building to something, but it never quite gets there. So, in effect, it’s building up the rest of the album.
“So Much” is introduced with a new wave sounding organ and drums. The vocals make the song feel like a Tom Petty track. But in the chorus, the vocals take on more of an Elvis Costello or Graham Parker feel. And the energetic vocal outburst of ‘alright’ reminds me of Mike Viola, but the comparison really ends there.
“Valentina” is a slower, smooth guitar ballad. The style of the slide guitar in short bursts; a technique not used as much anymore, dates the song, and gives it a bit of a confident and dangerous mood.
“Babe” simplistically bounces and rocks out from the get go with its use of complex but light guitar hook and simple drum beat. It is an immediately fun, catchy song, and then first small taste you get of the chorus solidifies the song as a rollicking pop song, very similar to Elvis Costello’s style. It is repetitive, but a fun melody is still a fun melody. The verse is just a build up to get to the exceptional chorus, which then becomes all you want to hear in a loop.
“Can't Stand It” has an angry Bryan Adams-like presentation in the chorus. Again, the drums and instrumental usage is sparse, but efficient. The songs feel like they have a lot of empty space, which is actually a positive nod to the production, as the songs still feel complete.

“I Call, No Answer” continues with the smoky, mysterious and confident guitar play, and the vocals are no different in their urgency or Bryan Adams, “Run To You” tone.
“Life on the Line” slows the record down a bit with its reggae rhythm. It still has a solid electric guitar presence in the verse, but the tempo is relaxed, despite the high anxiety title. “'Bout the Girl” takes the stripped down guitar rock song to the extreme. It has a catchy upward tempo for the verse, and the chorus takes the opportunity to rock out a bit more, Big Star harmonic style.“Though It Was Easy” is a slower reflective song. It still feeds a bit of a punch with the parallel and layered bass and guitar, but the vocals give it that reminiscent feel. “Factory Girl” has a start stop guitar that makes me think of “867-5309/Jenny.” But there is not that much energy in the song. In fact, the tempo is much slower and the song struts along at its own, hurry-free pace.
“This Is Japan” ends the album as sparse and relaxed as the opening track offered an insurmountable build. After the title is spoke/sung, a tacky oriental keyboard plays in repeat a couple of times, and here and there throughout the slow struggling song. The song does finish off the album nicely though.


* “One by One” has a bit thicker, echoy production than the first album. It rolls a little faster and still maintains the mysterious rock quality. “Why Don't You Let Me Go” is a power song, given by the progression of the bass. Not quite a power ballad, but as it rocks more than lulls along, but the music contains a lot of passion. In one instance in the inflection of the vocals, I felt like I was listening to a Ted Leo song. And the instance repeats: ‘Is making me sweat.’“Cold Modern Days” would have you believe that the following song would be mechanical and digitized. But the singing sounds like Journey, which, I guess, was modern for the time. And this song has a stripped down groove, with ‘empty space’ in the track, like a return to the production style from the first album.
“When I Was Young” has an “Is She Really Going Out With Him” bass line. The verse is slow, but from the first chorus on, the melody becomes much catchier as the song evolves. But the song still travels along the stripped down production.
“It's A Hard World” features a sax, and is a sad, sulking blues track with a touch of realization/acceptance. It reminds me of Buffalo Springfield – “For What It’s Worth” with a little more pace.
“Let it Rock” attempts to do just that. It breaks from the slow songs, and comes back with a song that is sung fast; somewhere between Tom Petty’s “Last Dance with Mary Jane” and Michael Penn’s “Brave New World.” The melody behind the bridge into the chorus does not quite match the vocals, but it is in a good, catchy way, which just sets up the anticipated chorus.

“Too Many Fools” changes the preset of the album. This is quick, a bit nasally in a New Wave / Elvis Costello way, and much more fun than the first side.
“Set Me Free” quickly reverts back to the sparse, slower style with that mysticism and smoky feel. It is repetitive with the title phrase, but it mixes up the melody behind the words.
“Brave Madonna” chugs along with a fun melody. It never quite reaches a climax as the motivational theme continues non-stop through out the song. The chorus is close, but it is not as bold as is anticipated. And there are not enough vocal challenges, as the melody allows for much more experimentalism. Even with that said, it is one of the better songs on the album.
“Sign of the Times” is the slow, long, groove-filled ballad on the album, featuring bluesy guitar solos right in the beginning and the return of the sax later on.
“Promises” initially reminds me of Bruce Springsteen – “Hungry Heart.” It is one part driving, one part disjointed Costello, and one part “My Sharona.” The song is interesting, but it never settles enough to catch a distinct groove.

Stand Out Track: Babe ~
Too Many Fools*

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