Highlights: Eat Me Alive, Take It Easy On Me, Careful What You Wish For
Derivative? Fuck derivativeness. Gentleman Jesse’s second album, Leaving Atlanta, is simply too good to be written off that way. Infectious, gutsy music of early Beatles playing garage rock in an age of power pop. In a word, irresistible.
I still play the band’s glorious debut from 2008 on a more or less regular basis. For the hooks and for that feeling of exhilarating, rip-roaring optimism. Leaving Atlanta is no different, even though after three or four listens I have to admit that on the whole this is a slightly weaker collection. Also, however good the opening “Eat Me Alive” may be, Leaving Atlanta lacks a truly breathtaking classic like 2008’s “All I Need Tonight (Is You)”.
But with the first sounds of harmonica and crisp power pop jangle – you know this is exactly what you expected. I won’t even be getting into specific songs here, suffice it to say that all feature tastefully rough (and basic) instrumentation, intelligently catchy melodies and lyrics glorious in their 60’s-flavoured beat anguish. And no ballads, of course.
I love Gentleman Jesse for the prime rock’n’roll spirit that, if infused with good tunes, is still very much alive and well. In all honesty Leaving Atlanta deserves no more than I’m giving it, but I almost ended up awarding this stuff an eight… I just love the style.