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Gary Lucas and Jann Klose - Stereopticon

  by Lisa Torem

published: 7 / 3 / 2016

Gary Lucas and Jann Klose - Stereopticon
Label: Cosmic Trigger Records
Format: CD


Fabulous collaborative album between singer-songwriter Jann Klose and veteran guitarist Gary Lucas

Singer-songwriter Jann Klose, raised in Kenya, has lived in South Africa, Germany and Ohio. Now residing in New York, he is known for his multi-range, sonorant vocals. Jann has been sought after for film, musical theatre and international concert work. To that end, Broadway credits include ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ and ‘The Who’s Tommy’. In 2005, ‘Moonlight Interior’, based on his rich body of work, debuted in New York, garnering critical acclaim. Jann has toured the UK, US, Europe, Africa and Asia extensively and has opened or performed with the likes of Roseanne Cash, Pete Seeger, Les Paul, Suzanne Vega and too many more artists to mention. ‘Stereopticon’ is his sixth studio album. Virtuosic guitarist Gary Lucas is most well known for working with Captain Beefheart and Jeff Buckley. As luck would have it, the two men crossed paths when Jann became the voice of singer-songwriter Buckley for the film, ‘Greetings from Tim Buckley’. Lyricist Dan Beck was product manager for Cyndi Lauper, Cheap Trick and the Clash. His co-writing includes collaborations with Dion DiMucci and The Rascals. He co-wrote six songs on ‘Stereopticon’. It consists of ten tracks and one radio edit. The streamlined energy is phenomenal - no song reaches the four-minute mark. These guys make every moment count. ‘Fair Weather’ is subtle but revealing. “I can’t be with you/I can’t let you in…." It’s set against a sea of finger snapping and it’s here you get your first taste of Gary’s punchy instrumentals and the duo’s mesmerizing harmonies. “The sirens and the screaming/Big city wore me down” is the strong hook that binds together ‘Secret Wing’. With its bird’s eye view of a gridlock life, it is blissfully free from formula. ‘Let No One Come Between Us’ is another crisply executed song. The vocal range is as impressive as the breadth of expression. There’s a casual and natural feel to this one, as if a couple of guys kicked it to the curb and tossed their souls through a basketball hoop. On ‘Walking and Talking’, the tone shifts again. I believe I even heard a few cougar-like snarls on this blues-based ballad. “I’m hustling and bustling/Looking for an angel this time around.” It’s got a rustic, Robert Johnson appeal. ‘Well of Loneliness’ enjoys brief but stylish sax set against a powerful, tear-stained progression. On ‘Take Your Medicine’, the tempo unexpectedly dovetails to a Django-like swing. Gary echoes Jann’s vocals with bullet train precision. ‘Nobody’s Talking’, which features stunning soprano sax, conveys an earnest message about contemporary isolation: “I’ve only been home a fortnight and I’m feeling that traveling’ Jones.” ‘Jewel Julia’ is heartbreakingly beautiful; from the optimistic spirit, “We’re all pirates looking for treasure” to the final verse, where we witness Jann’s touching exaltations. ‘Mary Magdalene’ was written and recorded in order to pay respect to the survivors of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy. The opening verse sets the stage: “Board up the windows.” In an amazing segue the sorrowful verse switches to a rousing Irish-drinking-song chorus. “I never want to hear that devil wind again / God save the children and the women and the men.” This chorus is so engaging that you’ll want to stroke the pub fires and lift a glass yourself. In the penultimate ‘Overture’, Jann shows off his range and ability to inspire passion. The lyrics are so clear-cut that he has a lot of room for exploration: “Close your eyes and visualize.” The album concludes with a reprise of ‘Secret Wings’—a “radio cut.” Though succinct, the short reprise reminds us of how incredibly far ‘Stereopticon’ has taken us.

Track Listing:-
1 Fair Weather
2 Secret Wings
3 Let No One Come Between Us
4 Walking and Talking
5 Well of Loneliness
6 Take Your Medicine
7 Nobody's Talking
8 Jewel Julia
9 Mary Magdalene
10 Overture
11 Secret Wings

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