#14

November 10, 2010

Jackie-O Motherfucker – Fig. 5
free-folk, post-rock, jazz, New Weird America
2000

On Fig 5, Jackie-O Motherfucker take an overtly exploratory approach to the soulful twang of Southern folk and Americana, in which their improvvy, jam-band stylings are driven along by multiple guitars, touches of banjo, varying percussion, harmonica, free-jazz and even some sparse sampling. Their expansive takes on traditional songs like “Amazing Grace” and “Go Down, Old Hannah” are filled with warmth and beauty, while “Your Cells are in Motion”, with its propulsive rhythm and looping guitar lines, is a personal favourite. The band have about a dozen members, and being such a large collective with a somewhat improvisational playstyle, there are moments when the music can feel a bit directionless (somewhat akin to an Americana orchestra in the process of warming up), particularly on the first listen. While some listeners will find this instantly charming, to others it’ll act as something of a barrier. In time, though, it becomes apparent that the band Jackie-O Motherfucker - Fig. 5are simply piecing together their songs in a carefully organic manner, and it can be quite a fascinating experience to hear each musical genesis gradually run its course. It’s a true pleasure to witness some of the finest free-folk music of the decade being constructed “one brick at a time”, however, the point when all those bricks fall into place and the band lock into their groove is where Jackie-O Motherfucker truly come into their own. The results are uniformly captivating.