Letters of Last Resort

by Jack James

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  • Compact Disc (CD) + Digital Album

    “From Neil Young... by way of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, to Arab Strap, without the charming vulgarity” - The Herald
    "Sounding more like a Scottish Leonard Cohen than ever" - Scots Whay Hae
    "Jack James may be doomed" - The List

    --

    Physically own Letters of Last Resort, with unique and personalised packaging. The achingly classic Compact Disc comes in a lovingly-crafted 6-panel digipak cardboard case, beautifully slipped into a brown fleck 120gsm thick recycled vegan gluten-free envelope, with your fine name and gorgeous address printed in jet cobalt black ink. Affixed with a stalwart bright red 1st Class stamp, the package is then hand-placed into a traditional British postbox.

    (Personalised artisanal envelope subject to availability and the whim of an unstable printer.)

    Includes unlimited streaming of Letters of Last Resort via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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1.
Over there waiting for you The call of the void, the derring-do The chance to do things right Then you find your old writings on the floor Incomprehensible notes are scattered, tossed and torn And you force them back through your front door And the postman removes them from your home Here on an island of stone And I was alone, whereas you didn't know And I would have stayed Secure in the choices that we made And you thought a letter was brave Resolve it all by turning you down A fixture away, playing outside of town Another life Oh for what I would not give There are too many lives to live
2.
04:27
Oh my god, it's after dark It's after hours 10 million voices all on you They're not amused about what you put them through Their points of view all scream of truth Of how you used them as a stand-in crew Taking turns, to knock you out To turn you up, from the sideways round A stream of hands drips into your mouth Rainfall north to south, slowly dissolves your house You no longer stand, there is no room There is no floor, you're lying on the door Said some things that I regret Tried to talk some sense, said things I had not meant We should be screaming for our lives Don't seem to have that side We're both too nice to fight
3.
I could tell from a look Who you were wrote all on your face Played a card from my book You knew it from a mile away We almost played A lifetime game Backs to the shore Fall overboard Were you taking a dive, were you taking a dive? Well so was I Put a hole in the leaf Didn't care how new it was Tried to hide our relief The fix was out and we were in luck Disrupt the flow Taking back what's old Back to the door On the count of four Were you taking a dive, were you taking a dive? Well so was I
4.
Face down, turn away from the ground Dial 999, just dial all the 9s Are you on your own? Are we not all alone really? Look how far we've trekked with money no object Lift the dead man's switch, you have a Dead Hand death-wish Is everything OK? Don't stop giving me the OK Your side is strong Taxi called but didn't state a destination Pick up point Burger King side of Queen Street Station Is this a set fare, should settle all my affairs now Your side is strong
5.
04:52
As you fall down traps Pack your holiday clothes They say your membership lapsed Join the club, the one where everyone goes It's your turn to go Don't try to breathe As you turn to go You find you can't leave The ground kick brings you back Dropped the snare down the rabbit hole You're wondering how long is the slack I am still there, you I don't know... It's your turn to go Don't try to breathe As you turn to go You find you can't leave
6.
Favours to buy Where do your allegiances lie? Playing games with a name Probably not survive A life to segment Wondering where your other half went Flip the coin See the heads and the tails join Please tell me that is not what you see You figured out, that no one has it figured out You fell down and that made you proud Muddied your clothes, and you're hoping no one knows Revealed some truth, but they thought it a joke Please tell me that is not what you see
7.
03:26
Where were you when you said you would be by the phone? I hung up as it rang out no one left to call My phone died and your mobile number went with it I've not had to know numbers since I was a kid I knew your landline before you switched from BT Year's '97, 0141 563... I head up to the High Street, find a public phone Press redial, still no answer, the whole town's not home I drove round to your parents' house, stopped outside it You don't live there now but it's where you used to live I back away and turn just as the curtains twitch I heard you're mainstream now, I'm headed towards the ditch Remember when you said you could convince the world? You had such a strong voice for such a little girl Now you've left town, you took your act on the road Now I don't even know your area code
8.
Dark lines under your eyes Fast mind, mouth that can't keep up It's all down to you It's all up to you, too Ha ha Dream live, when you are outside Straight lines, all silver, they correlate That much is true Yes and the sky is blue, too Ha ha If you really want to do your worst to try your best Be my guest Family home, you're not alone Stones throw from the apple tree And it's all down to you It's all up to you, too Ha ha If you really want to do your worst to try your best Be my guest
9.
Why'd they make surprise so strange? I could say goodbyes all day They don't seem to affect me at all Tread the room softly 'cause This afternoon we lost our faults They were scaled down by much larger thoughts You force the spool, finger rewind You turn the tape around Your splicing tricks exposed as proof Of tampering with your mind Oh, tampering with your mind Go back in time, you keep your mind In the school line you cross divide As they find you coursing through old halls Slide the track along the ground Wound up wrong move back inside Perceptual magic you've turned it upside down You lost a section, that's how this works Survive the edit test The razor cuts down all the mess The simplest cut is best Oh, the simplest the best Construct a thought, you float one out Dangles on a threaded string What will you do, when you have, nothing left to bring?
10.
Dive until you settle down; there, there... Go on down I'll meet you there You expect me to change your mind, no I don't even care I've been onto newfound gold I've been wondering what you're told I've been onto newfound gold I've been wondering what you know Bite the hand that feeds your mouth Wonder why we went south Would rather wait than ask for more Find out who you're writing for I've been onto newfound gold I've been wondering what you're told I've been onto newfound gold I've been wondering what you know
11.
Took some coins, and I took them away All white string, all wrapped in paper And I know that only thoughts count to you All my actions, well I made them for you Plastic card and I spelt my name wrong Callous thoughts, but I thought they were strong You can only get so far with you And I thought that it was so far so good
12.
04:29
Tell lies with your mouth Smile and nod Curl your lips upwards against your thoughts Your mind went south And the weather turned to fog Wake up, you're not lost Automaticity kicked in The main road took you home And you saw me in that state Subconsciously awake Did you see me driving down? Did you see me driving down? Read your way out of thoughts Try to suppress them they just multiply Momentum's tough to stop The memories in your muscles be stronger than they ought That camera caught your face They can limit your speed but they can't change your state Did you see me driving down? Did you see me driving down?

about

“From Neil Young... by way of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, to Arab Strap, without the charming vulgarity.” - The Herald


"Sounding more like a Scottish Leonard Cohen than ever" - Scots Whay Hae


"Jack James may be doomed" - The List


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Released: 7th July 2015
Written: Mostly in 2014
Recorded: Mostly in Feb-March 2015
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, UK

All songs written and recorded by Jack James

Jack James – Mostly instruments
Gavin Crawford – Drums

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“We fear change.” - Garth Algar, Wayne’s World (1992)

Being philosophical for a moment, we could interpret this quote as applying to humans in general, because let’s be real; we fear change. And this album is all change. The acoustic guitar is limited, there is no anatomical drawing and hey, is that a Hammond organ I hear? By logical induction we should fear this album because we're human. But change can be good, Barack Obama was elected based on this very notion.

So, this is Jack James' last resort. The titular letters being referenced are written by every incoming British Prime Minister since the 1950s. In the event that the UK is destroyed, they give standing orders to the British navy's nuclear submarine fleet. And current Jack James fans could take from this album that the artist they knew has been destroyed, so it is now up to them how they wish to react; love it, hate it or fire a thermonuclear weapon at it.

Call of the Void sets the scene, a natural indie-rock extension of previous albums, adding significant prominence to the electric guitar, bass and organ while maintaining the strong lyrical themes and structures. After Hours is a melody driven at nearly constant momentum, again retaining the familiar elements while filling out the instrumentals beyond the scope of any previous work. Phone Number is the catchiest song on the album, a prime example of the finely struck balance between the folk and rock elements, invoking other artists who successfully found that middle ground such as Elliott Smith, Cat Power or Plants and Animals.

So there it is; Jack James went electric, by which I mean there's a Telecaster and Hammond on the album. It's not a completely bizarre new direction, like launching a hip-hop alter-ego or something, but by the standards of a man who has released 5 albums of almost entirely folk music, it's a bold progressive step forward.

credits

released July 7, 2015

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Jack James Glasgow

Rangy songwriter.

“From Neil Young... by way of Bonnie "Prince" Billy, to Arab Strap, without the charming vulgarity”
-The Herald

"Sounding more like a Scottish Leonard Cohen than ever"
-Scots Whay Hae

"Jack James may be doomed"
-The List
... more

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