Jackdaw4 were a British progressive power pop band formed by Willie Dowling following the dissolution of his previous band, Honeycrack. They were a move away from the Britrock sound of their origins to more of an indie rock feel with plenty of 60’s pop and 70’s Prog influences. The irregular time changes and lush harmonies that Honeycrack were known for were still present as were Willie’s knack of great storytelling and his ear for a fine melody.
Dissecticide is their fourth album, following Gramophone Logic, Bipolar Diversions and The Eternal Struggle For Justice, and was fan funded via a Pledge Music campaign in 2012 but not commercially released until May of this year. It marked a departure to their sound in that it was a lot more guitar based, several of the songs might not sound too out of place on a Honeycrack album. Coming Up For Air IS actually a reworked version of an old Honeycrack song.
That’s not to say this is a pure hard rock album or anything, there’s still keyboards aplenty, What Goes Around Comes Around is a banjo-featuring Country love song. Melanoma is a sparse, organ-led ballad with a rather obvious subject matter. Elsewhere there are still strings, brass and a few other bits and bobs parping on.
Abigail’s Last Hurrah is great album opener, upbeat, jolly and catchy. It’ll have you tapping your toes and bouncing your head from side to side merrily with a big daft grin on your face. Right up until the moment it dawns on you that it’s about rape.
One of the highlights of Dissecticide is Why Don’t You Come and See Me When She’s Not Around. It’s a frenetic song with frequent time changes. It’s probably the most proggy thing they’ve ever done. Several parts of it are very reminiscent of Queen at their most adventurous, particularly the falsetto vocals and the guitar line that kicks in at around 02:50 is pure Brian May.
Unfortunately Jackdaw4 split at the same time Dissecticide got an official release. Willie says that it basically down to money and the frustration that, for several years and despite various tours and promotions, their fan base had never really grown beyond the core base. I think it’s a huge shame that they couldn’t achieve this and have become yet another great band to be swept under the rug.
I suppose one major cause for this is that they’re somewhat of a niche band. Even though Willie is an exemplary songwriter and they have hummable choruses by the bucket load, they are still quite a challenging listen considering. It seems it’s a challenge that too many people weren’t willing to accept. A Pity.
8.5 out of 10
The Insert Video button doesn't seem to think the video for Why Don't You Come And See Me When She's Not Around is on Youtube but it is. You can watch it HERE. Count the drummers!