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Jackie-O Motherfucker - Flags Of The Sacred Harp

  by Andrew Carver

published: 20 / 11 / 2005

Jackie-O Motherfucker - Flags Of The Sacred Harp
Label: All Tomorrow's Parties
Format: CD


Slightly subdued latest offering from experimentalists Jackie-O Motherfucker who have uncanny skill in blending free form noise, folk music and psychedelic drones into a cohesive whole.

Flags of the Sacred Harp is the latest studio album from the prolific Portland group Jackie O Motherfucker, and finds them reining in some of their more abrasive and chaotic aspects … well, mostly reining them in. As on previous albums, Jackie-O Motherfucker shows an uncanny skill in blending free form noise, folk music, psychedelic drones and many other musical odds and ends into a cohesive whole. The somnolent 'Nice One'opens the album with a dreamy lullaby, sung by a male and female voice in unison - the album’s hallmark. The band, however, hasn’t left its avant-garde side behind: At the half-way mark the lullaby turns into sporadic clunking bottles, clanks and crunches, scattershot electronic noises and a foreboding drone. 'Rockaway' is another sleepy folk trip with morbid lyrics, sliding guitar and female vocals – Mazzy Star fans will find it most listenable. It segues into the more countrified 'Hey Mr. Sky', which blends its fingerstyle guitar and deadpan male vocals with some psychedelic background guitar distortion. The next track, the 16-minutes plus 'Spirits', commences with some freeform guitar tingling, snorts and snores, scuffling and more electronic drones which slowly build and entwine together over the track’s running length before a haunting finale. 'Good Morning Kaptain' is more deadpan male folk, with a sawing violin and a keening stream of guitar notes behind it. An aggressive wah flares into the song then vanishes, resurfacing later in the background. The next track, 'Loud and Mighty', is another long one, and belies it name with a jazzy feel as tambourines shake and a woodsy bass toddle along behind some chopped vocal fragments before breathy sighs from the female vocalist surface. It burbles and jangles its way to the ten minute mark with a leisurely feel. The final track, 'The Louder Roared The Sea', is the most percussive, with a gamely thumped drum and crackling and chattering reverb hustling a wheezing melody past squawks and crashes before sneaking – almost imperceptibly – into another pensive folk ditty sung by the female vocalist. (there’s also a noisy, clap-filled singalong about limbo dancing which sounds like a drunken karaoke party, but we’ll just ignore that one …). This one of Jackie O Motherfucker gentler albums, and makes an excellent introduction to the band.

Track Listing:-
1 Nice One
2 Rockaway
3 Hey! Mr. Sky
4 Spirits
5 Good Morning Kaptain
6 Loud And Mighty
7 The Louder Roared The Sea
8 (Silence)
9 Untitled [Hidden Track]

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