Friday, December 2, 2016

Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers - Goths!!!

Most of us are adept at processing joy and happiness, contentment and peace.  And if we lose our way a bit in that regard some holiday TV special or the feel-good movie of the season will give us a helping hand.  But the real challenge is how we process the darker elements of life.  I'm not speaking about wide scope tragedies such as terrorist bombings, floods and famine.  My focus is on more personal devastation, such as death, old age helplessness, a crumbling marriage, loss of children and giving up in the face of overwhelming troubles.  Do we ignore it as long as we are able, even while others around us see us crushed?  Do we panic? Or do we crumple in a heap, utterly unable to continue?  OK, good questions, Scott -- what is the answer?

Well, there may be no single answer, but Scotland's Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers have an answer.  According to JY&TPGLP, sometimes you have to dance in the gutter, troll through the graveyard, share copious tears and contemplate degradation and mortality to know that you are alive and feel good about your life.  And their motivation for you to do so is their darkly addictive dark soul, doom wop, and gutter Gospel.  A few years ago we covered Luck, the band's smashing debut LP.  They are back now with Goths!!!, seven songs that overall are a bit slower in tempo and quieter in volume, but packed with dark emotion.  The album opens with "The Tigris", a simple piano-driven arrangement in which the protagonist tells of life and loss, ending with a decision to drown himself in the titular river.  Showcase tune "The Gospel According To The Selfish Gene" follows with a glorious slice of roadhouse R&B.  It is so good I've provided it twice below, one a stream of the test pressing, the other a portion of Jacob's live performance of the song.  One of the best tracks is the following "Grace of God", in which Jacob tells of a man who has lost his job, home, family, and eventually his life.  "Winter In My Heart" is a jazzy, nocturnal meditation that you'd expect to hear as the last patron on the club while the barman cleans up and the roadies pack the amps (Jackson Browne, eat your heart out).  Next is the dub dominated "Care Home", which addresses the grim life in a home for the aged.  Even at seven and a half minutes, it could run longer with no complaint from me.  The album closes with the dark tales "Bits of Glass" and "The Heart".  The later is one of my favorites on the album, and is my preferred tune for a late night whisky before bed.

The arrangements are spare, but spot on throughout. Jacob's bluesy vocals, ably backed by Cassie Exeji of Golden Teacher sell the message, and the package from London's VAVA Records is first class.  Wallow in the darkness with us -- it is surprisingly fun!

For Goths!!!, Jacob Yates and the Pearly Gate Lock Pickers are main man Jacob Lovatt, with Jamie Bolland, Richard Holmes, Michael Bleazard, Christopher Haddow, Niall Dobbie, Cassie Exeji, Stuart Evans, Emily MacLaren.  The album was recorded at Glasgow's Green Door

VAVA Records page for Goths
VAVA Records

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