The Balky Muke @ Captains Rest 10-05-09

May 20, 2009

THE BALKY MULE
Captains Rest, Glasgow, May 10 * * * *

Returning to the UK three years on since he upped sticks and headed down under, Sam Jones – better known as The Balky Mule – has been making and recording music for close to a decade now. In that time the former Bristol resident had amassed a wealth of material, the best of which found its way on his debut album proper The Length Of The Rail.
Released on FatCat Records, it’s an album full of lo-fi charm, strange instrumentation and subtle melodies but how the songs would translate live was the question.
As it turned out Jones and his two-piece band, although not always on the same page, put in an endearingly shambolic display which overall served his music well. It’s a shame then that it was such a meagre crowd that turned up to the Captains Rest.
After a couple of quirky and at times impenetrable opening tracks Jones showed his more melodic side with Jisaboke, a joyfully meandering song crammed with quirky twists and turns and a typically fragile vocal.
Unconventional throughout, at times it was the honesty of his delivery rather than the music that stood out – jazz-infused instrumental Ant Learning one such example. Overall however it was penultimate number Wireless that provoked the biggest response thanks to its more immediate melody and less idiosyncratic style.

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