The Jigsaw Seen rock. It’s that simple. Their latest album, Old Man Reverb, is yet another fine example of the band’s talent and creativity.
Ah, but for those of you too busy preparing for the holidays, The Jigsaw Seen is an L.A. band founded in 1988 by lead singer (and former United States Of Existence artist) Dennis Davison and guitarist Jonathan Lea. Their most recent roster includes Davison (lead vocals/primary songwriting/acoustic guitar/keys/percussion), Lea (guitars/bass/mellotron), Tom Currier (bass/piano) and Teddy Freese (drums/timpani).
Old Man Reverb (vibro-phonic recording), released on limited edition cassette, CD, vinyl and digital download, is a ten track Davison-composed work that marks yet another audio accomplishment for the band. The lead-in is “Let There Be Reverb.” It features Morley Bartnoff on organ. It’s an apt introduction to an album that focuses on art, nature, show biz and a touch of less-than-perfect relationships.
The second selection is “Idiots With Guitars.” This is, as they say, “a cautionary tale of the perils of pursuing artistic endeavors for reasons other than self-satisfaction.” Bartnoff encores here adding distinct Hammond organ chords.
“Die Laughing” is unique. It’s a song that’s a musical metaphor seemingly about AIDS and yet it’s neither straight out maudlin nor directly preachy. It’s also one of the best tracks on the disc especially if you enjoy morbid humor.
“Understand” follows as the tracks continue to flow and merge together in an exceptional musical presentation. (At this point it finally dawned on your rockin’ reviewer that one of the reasons why The Jigsaw Seen’s songs often sound somehow familiar even though they are clearly new is because they are vaguely reminiscent of friends of his in a State College, Pennsylvania-based band coincidentally named The Seen.) It’s fresh but friendly and familiar.
“We Women” is a well-reworked version one of their singles from 2003. It’s both interesting and exotic and works well on this new album. It was mastered by Grammy-winning engineer Sean Magee at the legendary Abbey Road Studios in London, England.
Davison and Lea, who co-produced the album, perform “Madame Whirlagig” next. It’s a great duet and adds even more variety to the mix. While some may consider the variety in style and focus the truth is it simply reminds listeners of their musical capabilities and interests.
“Hercules And Sylvia” is a track sans Currier. This is offers a personal perspective from Davison and harkens back to a childhood visit to two gorillas at the Baltimore Zoo. Everyone quickly returns for “Your Mind Is Like Mine” which is another revelatory tune.
“Abide” is a rich, sensual selection that is also an early favorite of online fans and critics alike. The closing cut, which comes all too soon, is titled “Grief Rehearsal.” This an apt end track in that it focuses on readying oneself for the death of a loved one.