Review Of Jersey Budd's album Wonderlands
Jersey Budd is harkening back to days gone by with this album, his debut, Wonderlands. You may have read about Budd in any number of national newspapers recently. He's been out, gaining column inches because he went to the same school as Kasabian and is friends with Noel Gallagher, but as far as I'm concerned this is only going to let him down in the long run- who needs celebrity friends when you can put out an album like this? After all, this is great music, very much in the vein of The Boss with a dash of Cat Stevens thrown in.
Case in point- piano and a classy electric guitar rise against a bass-driven beat in She Came Back, where Jersey talks about 'those games we used to play,' with a sha-la-la chorus, and: this is strangely fantastic to listen to. Shotgun Times tells a similar story - 'All I need is my heartbeat/Tripping up by your side .... Well you're living in shotgun times.' And more sha-la-las after. It's genuinely uplifting, with just enough self-awareness to keep it fun. I'm not sure how the ex-plumber from Leicester has done this, because it doesn't really make any sense to me that this album should be good at all.
And on the first listen, I thought this was a mediocre album at best, but, listening to it a few more times - and I'd recommend headphones or a drive for this one - it's actually very, very good. This is a revelation - on top of Budd's excellent voice, there's lovely instrumentation, plenty of hammond organ, some swelling strings; and it's all held together by the piano and bass that lie at the heart of the songs. Of course, it's not all perfect, sometimes the production or the songwriting takes a mis-step. That said, the album doesn't outstay it's welcome: 33 minutes is a great length for an album like this.
All in all, it's well worth buying. I think I find it so great because it's actually optimistic and straight-forward, as opposed to the cynical, downbeat, modern indie that seems to gain so much airtime these days.