These days, we are endlessly confronted with injustice, which is to celestial mechanics what rate rigging is to bankers. In fact, we have always been; only, less on the receiving end, so to speak. The difference now is that it has become blatantly visible, at least as long as social injustice is concerned.
And it looks as if the long overdue awareness about it has finally dawned: we can’t wait for the awakening of the middle classes – including, of course, those burgeoning in India and China, to whom we (Westerners) owe our ability to maintain or putridly smug lifestyle – and their ascetic self-dispossessing in the light of global inequality.
But injustice is a tentacular beast and has innumerable manifestations. One of which is commercial injustice. The latter regularly occurs in the realm of pop music. It bears the stigma of guilt, as it is the intrinsically insipid and run-of-the -mill that sells, not what actually should sell. So you are confronted with legions of pretty good bands that call it quit after enduring the unendurable indifference of markets and critics, while Coldplay continue with their utterly explicable world domination.
It is not the case with Jack Adaptor, who have been imperturbably releasing their music while at the same time holding in complete contempt the stolid unresponsiveness of “the markets”* for the past decade or so.
Alas, there is another injustice wrapped in the above-mentioned injustice: it is more than three months since JA, aka Paul Frederick and Chris Cordoba, both long-serving musical purveyors of the London scene (please note the deliberate omission of the abject term “indie”) have released I Saw a Ghost, a record which I’m only now writing about. And if it took me so long before getting to the heart of the matter, and I had to drag cosmic injustice into my argument, it is only – the most aware readers will have already realised that – because I Saw a Ghost is a bloody good record, and they should immediately rush to buy it here. What “the markets” need is a good deal of regulation – only a totally self-delusional neoliberal terrorist might think otherwise – and I sincerely resent the fact that what residual simulacrum of democracy we are left with is used to pay lip service to the so-called “freedom of choice”.
Well, one of the prime aspects of such regulation, even prior to the abolition of finance, should be the – if not compulsive, warmly encouraged – purchase and consumption of I saw a Ghost: it is an utterly enjoyable, sophisticated and discreet album, one that inhabits an elusive emotional region and that it is difficult to dislodge from one’s mind after multiple listening. This is exquisitely crafted music that the label “mature pop” only partially helps to define, thanks mostly to the gentle detachment and sharp vision of Paul Fredericks’ lyrics and to the measured and poised guitar playing of Chris Cordoba. The artistic partnership among these two is totally seamless and this collection of twelve song succeed in evoking melancholy, longing, memory without ever collapsing into sentimentality. This is their best record to date and the partial redressing of world’s injustice and imbalance should start by listening attentively to it and recommending it to your most cherished friends. You could even use Facebook to achieve that.
Compulsive (or warmly encouraged) picks? “Tight Angle”, “Burmah Gold”, “Swimming Pool Lies”, “Old Man Drunk”, “Last Minute Gifts”.
*”the markets” is here deliberately misused as “the market”.