Caleb Landry Jones’ second album, the follow-up to The Mother Stone, is every bit as conceptual, sprawling and psychedelic. But unlike that impressive debut, the actor/composer/musician’s Gadzooks Vol 1 takes a few more listens to bed in.
Perhaps it’s his very apparent John Lennon fixation, evident through tracks like Yesterday Will Come, California and The Loon.
Or maybe it’s simply that it takes a while to find its feet. But patience is its own reward. The opening track, Never Wet, is like Syd Barrett jamming with Love, and Gloria is a short, lysergic instrumental which anchors the album firmly in rock opera territory.
But it’s never that simple. He’s playing a clever trick, the little imp. Just when you settle in, you’re wrongfooted. It’s the little musical U -turns that keep things interesting- a change of tempo, falsetto, crunchy drums and symphonic string section bursting into glorious technicolour.
Landry Jones saves the best for last. This Won’t Come Back is a magnificent, over sixteen minutes long, a jaunty, bonkers chamber pop epic which takes the listener through a Brechtian carnival and down the rabbit hole, into face melting prog. I’ll have what he’s having.
Out now via Sacred Bones.