Saturday, May 30, 2009

The Jigsaw Seen - Shortcut Through Clown Alley (1990, Skyclad)

L.A.s The Jigsaw Seen arrived at the tail end of the Paisley Underground movement, but unlike Rain Parade and The Three O'clock, they didn't garner as much notoriety. Profoundly unfortunate, because their debut LP, Shortcut Through Clown Alley, is a sophisticated psych-pop treasure, laced with sublime, Roger McGuinn-informed guitar fills, well placed flourishes of Farfisa organ, and ambitious songwriting. The effect is startlingly akin to the Mersey Beat endebted XTC side project, The Dukes of Stratosphear, and more recently the work of fellow L.A. scenesters The Sugarplastic. Shortcut...evokes the vibe of a loosely strung together concept piece, which it may or may not be, only adding to it's charismatic mystique. There's no definitive centerpiece here, but the winsome "Jim Is the Devil" was striking enough to be issued as a single in it's own right, shortly before the release of the album. Incidentally, my copy of Shortcut is slightly blemished by a scratch that effects the first couple rotations of this very track, but conveniently, in 2007, Little Hits blog posted the song as well (sans the rest of the album), which is still available for the taking.

Incidentally, The Jigsaw Seen would bring forth their signature song in 1991, in the shape of "My Name is Tom," featured on the ep of the same name that was thoughtfully reissued in 2006. The band have been recording/performing intermittently since their late '80s inception, and their website linked above is well worth exploring, if only for plundering the MP3s of a BBC session.
01. Pillar of Salt
02. Can Andy Come Out and Play?
03. Where You're Goin'
04. Jesus of Hollywood
05. These Are the Days
06. Jim is the Devil
07. Sebastian Kane
08. Under Par
09. Cordially Invited - December
10. Jezebel


jim kosmicki said...

the band has put up a whole slew of albums and singles at Amie Street -- they were still rather cheap the last time I looked, but gaining in popularity (and thus price). This album was not included, however, so thank you.

Anonymous said...

Please reup this one. Many Thanks!!