Fleur Jack and The Jandals
Ghosts of Cimarron
Fleur Jack’s debut offering symbolises a lot more than just its role as a presentation of sound; Ghosts of Cimarron signifies the fact that you can make a country/folk album in Aotearoa - and a good one at that. Granted, mention of Kiwi idiosyncrasies in GOC are markedly absent, and the music is near-indistinguishable from the country twangs of the international scene (both vocally and instrumentally). And of course, I mean this in a good way.
Whilst noticeably true to her country roots, Fleur’s music transcends the rut which many other musicians of the genre fall into: many a track from her flagship album bears the potential to be played on mainstream airwaves, not just folk/country specific radio stations and the like. Laden with ubiquitous themes ranging from unrequited love to the heart-wrenching agony of the post-breakup zone, songs such as ‘Waiting by the Phone’ and ‘Drink with You’ resonate with the painful familiarity of emotional turmoil.
This isn’t to say that all of Fleur’s songs draw on the darker side of the emotional spectrum though. The lyrics from ‘Eyes Across the Fire’ possess a certain fervour to match their title, and speak of august and passionate desire. Picking up on a theme of sorts, the songs on the record bear a confident and self-assured vibe, despite the expressions of emotional vulnerability from time to time. ‘Fuck Everybody Else’ sums this up quite aptly, asserting the title if “they can’t take me for myself.” Gentle vocal harmonies and energetic banjos are littered throughout the record, and many other delicate intricacies add to the quality on the whole.
Masterfully crafted and unabashedly earnest, Ghosts of Cimarron shines as what Kiwi country music can and should be.