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Metropolis Blue (Deluxe)

Jack Lukeman & aka Jack L

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Album Review

Jack Lukeman is a bold contemporary of David Gray and the Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon. The size and power of his voice summons reminders of a myriad of his influences — from Frank Sinatra to Scott Walker, Morrissey to Gavin Friday. And his first full-length release works very well- primarily because Jack Lukeman not only acknowledges these factors, he embraces them. Upon close inspection, Metropolis Blue exhibits a strange quirk. The odd-numbered songs are loud, brash, and attempt to rock with varying success. The even-numbered tunes are slow, haunting variations on traditional balladry. This ambiance-alternating gamble lends the record a perilous balance that oddly enough works more often than it doesn't. Still, it can be jarring to the listener, depending on the listening experience that's expected. The wacky, yes-that's-what-it's-about transgender anthem "Boys & Girls (Ode to Ed Wood)" is provocative and edgy — difficult in a musical climate where mostly everything that could shock the public at large has been attempted. "Boys & Girls" was released as the lead single, sadly, to the detriment of the disc. It's a catchy tune, but not representative of Metropolis Blue, giving very little indication of what Lukeman's vocal and songwriting capabilities can truly achieve. "Georgie Boy," on the other hand, could be construed as an ultra-modern take on Oscar Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray, or it could be a simple lament on a boyhood friend. "Rooftop Lullaby" casts soft, dreamlike atmospherics, "When the Moon Is High" follows it with a powerful chorus forcing the dreaminess to its limit. It's in these moments Lukeman's voice marries effortlessly to his extensive songwriting ability. As a songwriter, he has an uncommonly good grasp of what it takes to craft an interesting song — not a merely listenable tune, but an engaging lyric backed by honest musical muscle. By far, the best work on this disc is rooted in its quietest moments. The stand-out track on the record is the title track -the most understated, subtly moving,and starkly vibrant moment on an otherwise loosely woven record. The low-key crooner seems to suit Lukeman supremely, and this is his finest moment. Make no mistake, Metropolis Blue is powered primarily by Lukeman's gigantic, powerful, supremely emotive voice. Butt only works because all the elements that make a great record are firmly in place.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Irish-born Jack Lukeman used his evocative croon and natural sex appeal to paint himself as a more accessible, mainstream version of edgy, brooding baritones like Jim Morrison, Scott Walker, and Nick Cave. A native of Athy, County Kildare, Lukeman earned a devoted fan base in Ireland with his blend of rock & roll, ethereal balladry, and occasional post-punk flourishes. His debut album, Metropolis...
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Metropolis Blue (Deluxe), Jack Lukeman
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