Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Review: Wesley Jensen

Wesley Jensen - Tales Of A Wandering Man (Independent)
Wesley Jensen’s biography can be found on various sites scattered around the information superhighway, and some of them go into considerable detail regarding family, upbringing, beliefs and career. Unfortunately, having perused several of them, I’m still not altogether sure what is precisely truth and what’s pretend. Perhaps it’s all true, in which case, I apologise to Mr. Jensen for doubting him, but all I’m ready to share with you, dear reader, are the basics; Wesley Jensen was born, he lives in California, and “Tales Of A Wandering Man” is his new record.

It’s not that there are obvious mistruths amongst the texts; it’s really just down to the telling. It’s all a little askew and awry; something that’s echoed in the music, a hybrid of alternative folk, sandblasted Americana and toothsome, quirky pop. Obvious influences aren’t easily recognisable, which is always a good thing, though the ambition, the capacity to bring non-pop sounds into a pop setting, and the ability to write and produce songs that leave an imprint long after the music has ceased, it’s groups like Arcade Fire and Radiohead that come to mind.

“Tales Of A Wandering Man” is an album that should be enjoyed undiluted. At 44 minutes, it’s a perfect duration, and ideal for taping on one side of a C90 cassette tape to enjoy on a Sony Walkman, ideally whilst roller-skating. For those with more modernist tastes, I suppose some sort of iPod might be used, and for that kind of person, I understand ‘playlists’ are popular. If that is your predilection, I shall recommend the following tracks: “Dark Horse” is quite wonderful. Its propensity to change time signatures, its mysterious tones and natural, unfettered drive is quite captivating. The title track “Wandering Man” is equally appealing. Though never quite as extreme in its presentation, it compensates the listener with a gentle vulnerability, which doesn’t stop it getting boisterous, in parts. “The Stairs Are Alive” scores maximum points just for its title, and the song, much like the whole album, repeatedly lives up to expectations.
Simon M.

Wesley Jensen: Tales Of A Wandering Man

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