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The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

This review was first published on CLUAS in 2001
Other albums reviewed in 2001

The Jimmy Cake

A review of their album 'Brains'

This five-track 48 minute long album from Dublin's nine-strong The Jimmy Cake is a welcome first to fans of the band's live performance and a fine introduction. Appropriately, these recordings have a live looseness that captures the energy of players engaging.

Jimmy Cake 'Brains'Leaving aside for the moment the inevitable list of comparisons and alleged influences, The Jimmy Cake can best be described as a kind of prandial refreshment containing sweet things like chocolate, sharp things like lemon and traces of nut. Seriously. The ingredients here are finely, finely balanced - a chunky bass riff on the floridly titled 'Ignite the Doom Carriage' offsets ponderous woodwind sounding notes of caution, psyching up to a terse groove that hauls you along its upward course as the noise guitars and spiralling sax notes kick in.

'Elevenses' is characterised by a doomy accordion and clarinet signature, underpinned by a spongy fretless bass motif. 'Hungry Ghosts' at 15:31 minutes long, steadily revs from a toe-tapping eastern-tinged preamble to a frog-marching open-mouthed celebration, augmented with piping vocals that go something like 'bah bada', which is a good thing. If Chairman Mao were reincarnated as a Hari Krishna he would love this.

Overall, this enthusiastic and supremely focused debut exudes an air of positivity, not least in the nostalgia-tinged opener 'this used to be the future': a prince of a core melody with sweetly lifting guitars, jack-in-the-box percussion and xylophone, and a crescendo of trumpet and drums. Sounds like a room full of old wooden toys playing together while the kids are asleep and there is a certain twisted innocence to the music that The Jimmy Cake make. They did after all call their album 'Brains'.

Which, altogether, brings me to that obligatory list. Now where did I put it? Ah hell, dare to let them be original. Go on.

Carol Keogh

(bullet) 'Brains' is released on Pilatus Records.
(bullet) Check out the Jimmy Cake's website