Jordaan Mason & Their Orchestra
Rewrite The Words Again
Once in a while a surrealist sneaks into the hard rock pile of CDs awaiting review. Then I get sideswiped by a line like: “My head is a spider web so full it collapses.” Honestly, I feel that way more and more these days, and I am intrigued. Mason has a unique vocal style, a bit uncertain maybe, with a singing voice warbling as if by arrested puberty. There’s a backing chorus; I suspect it’s Mason with some audio tricks to sweeten the sadness in their voice. There’s a sad accordion, an accordion steeped in grief and nostalgia and inviting you to add your own tears to their cup of sorrow as the accordion weeps in silence. What to do? What to do? Do we press on to this dark island of sorrow, or row backwards to our starting position? I choose to press on. I may not know of what they speak, but I feel a weird and growing resonance.
I press on to “Play the Harp Badly.” True to their word there IS a harp, but it sounds ok. It’s that police siren in the distance that bothers me. Avant garde harpism? Pshaw—I eat that for breakfast. It’s a long journey, Jordaan Mason laments to a country beat: “I don’t want to make art about my trauma any more.” I can support that, and I’ll add if you’re bored with today’s electronic self-referential sound, this record will take you back to an earlier acoustic time when there was no shame about singing to your sins. Take a deep breath and leap into the past. At least you’ll know what’s going to happen, even if you can’t do anything about it.