ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Good Day *****
Jeremiah does not so much sing his fourth album as stride through it – his baritone vocal rich, robust and brimming with authority.
There are touches of Scott Walker in the orchestration and of Michael Kiwanuka’s Big Little Lies theme tune, Cold Little Heart, in the falsetto backing vocals but the Amsterdam-based British singer assembles all these parts with an off-kilter freshness that is entirely his own.
Mountain, its whistling stomp recalling Hugo Montenegro’s spaghetti westerns, rages with raw passion while The Stars Are Out adds heady romanticism.
Meanwhile the seven-minute Deadweight demonstrates his skill with slow-burning balladry, with Jeremiah caught in a lovelorn limbo. Fabulous stuff.
A virtuoso violinist and guitarist, it is Calvi’s startling operatic voice and her surging and breathless sense of sexual and gender exploration that shapes these songs.
The opening As A Man explores similar territory to Prince’s If I Were Your Girlfriend – “If I was a man in all but my body/would I understand you completely?” – while the superb Don’t Beat The Girl Out Of My Boy is a strident plea, underpinned by doo-wop backing vocals, that might just be the best thing she’s ever recorded.
The ghost of Bowie stalks the arrangements, the swooping electronics and repetitive word-play – “I can be the one if you can be the one” – is straight out of his playbook.
US vocalist Peyroux works with a whole range of songwriters here and has Joni Mitchell’s ex-husband and producer at the controls but there’s a consistency and focus that centres on the singer’s wonderfully laid-back eccentricity.
Who else but Peyroux could come up with a track like the brilliant Party Tyme in which the celebration in question appears to be taking place in some sort of wonky crack house?
There’s more than an echo of Steely Dan in the combination of smooth jazz and raw lyricism.
In fact, Brand New Deal’s elegant swipe at American capitalism could easily have come straight off the Dan’s Gaucho LP but it’s Peyroux’s insouciant voice that haunts the listener.