Album Review: Charles Jenkins & The Zhivagos - Love Your Crooked Neighbour With Your Crooked Heart

17 September 2012 | 9:15 am | Ross Clelland

Listen and let Sir Charles converse with you, for he does it very well.

Each of Charles Jenkins' splendid solo albums have come with a slightly different flavour, although all retain the former Ice Cream Hands leader's unquestionable pop sense. Various shades of guitar music – to The Blue Atlas's string-driven works, before turning it back up a bit for Walk This Ocean – he keeps delivering quality work.

Now another turn: Love Your Crooked etc etc could be his 'roots and folk' album – in parts. There are occasional wheezes of brass and rattles of piano stumbling up the stairs from The Band's basement. Other moments you're being told probably not all-together true yarns by that guy who bummed a ride as far as Goulburn but is somehow still in the passenger seat as you hit Albury. Or maybe just a grinning singalong in your loungeroom. That last one well-illustrated by the swing of Pray My Darling Daughter, where she's gently chided against involvement with most creative types. We'll discuss our respective views of journalists and folksingers at some later stage, Chuck.

At other points it's more reflective. Rich Rich Country adds some Billy Bragg humanist politics as the boats bob in the swell. The Dictator With No Moustache even more philosophical, heading towards being something of a secular hymn, with the inevitable kicker of 'We're all gonna die' towards the end. Or the faux gospel but real feeling of Went To The Chapel. There's most always an Australian accent – Gun Trouble listing the narrator's small crimes across those Victorian country towns with bent roadsign names like Ouyen and Merbein.

Listen and let Sir Charles converse with you, for he does it very well.

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