Review of Artful Dodger EP by The Jacques

Look, we remember 2006 like it was yesterday: frantically checking MySpace every day so you could be the first to have discovered yet another new thing, having the 1965 label promo CD on endless repeat (especially Ripchord's 'Lock Up Your Daughters'), gigs in someone's living room with the air full of dandruff, peach schnapps and wearing enough Lynx to seduce all the competitors at Miss World combined.

The Jacques Artful Dodger EP

If you'd have said at that point that "indie" music as we knew it would be in full retreat just two years later, we'd have probably been making funny faces behind your back, but a few very minor renaissances aside and notwithstanding a tenth album (or something) by The Crookes, these are grim times for the spawn of the Gallagher brothers, or if you must, the grand spawn of Paul Weller.

Four waifs from Bristol, The Jacques are something of a throwback to the era from which the Arctic Monkeys debut conquered urban Britain. The 'Artful Dodger' is their second EP and whilst the sneers remain very much the same, the titular opening track is a kick in the pants of giant proportions, with a funky, rumbling bass, frantically chopping, fuzz-soaked guitar riff and dissolute vocals that veer between not caring more or less.

As statements go, it's one of the most fluid and confident ones in these circles we've heard in a long time, so it's not surprising that its three companions never quite achieve the same feeling of swagger. If what influences this genre the most is the tension between Mancunian hubris or the empty diffidence of  London, each of the trio of "Other" tunes bear some sort of resemblance to The Libertines in tone, from 'Down And Out In London & Tokyo''s complete replication to 'This Is England''s more abrasive critique of an Anglia gone badly astray somewhere. As you might expect, none of them quite hit the mark, like the waxwork copies at Tussaud's being empty behind the eyes and hard to the touch, but this is being overly tough on a band who have the ambition to not just be another landfill outfit in waiting. In an era where bands are forcing themselves to peddle being different as a substitute for being good, we certainly shouldn't mind The Jacques getting a start by picking a hero's pocket or two.  


Andy Peterson

Facebook page -