Sunday, May 28, 2006

Sometimes the name really does say it all - Jo Jo ef Steve

One radio live-to-air. One gig (described by one of the six people in the audience as a 'catastrophe'). One jam in a basement on a harmonium and bits of concrete. One recording session the night before one-third of the group relocated to Australia ('morning-after' photo above. The balloon illustrating the popular expression 'my muff has tusks' had just been sucked out of the window by a wind vector and blown 300 metres across the city until we lost sight of it). And now - their debut album.

UFM 014 Jo Jo ef Steve 'A Quiet Night In With...' cdr
Each cover is hand-drawn by Dunedin graf maven Agent Spree

But people it is no joke! Take the tape/radio drop-in genius of Spit, the rock-solid repetition and resonance of Rory Storm, and the hyper melodic scattergun texturalism of Ray Off and what you've got is not only surprisingly coherent but also a damned compelling listen. Marvel at the way Storm adjusts a heart-rending two-chord riff to fit in the shifting plates of random sound! Swoon to Currin's lonely and tender balloon solo! Gasp at how Cockburn snatches exactly the 'right' piece of opera/talkback/pop trash from the airwaves at JUST the 'right' time.

Catastrophe in progress

This is one of my favourite UFM's for the sheer chutzpah and 'uh...what? how?...' of it all. It's pretty, it's stupid, it's deep... it's... ummm... stupid again... Beautifully recorded in vivid 2-track stereo, we dare you to spend a quiet night in with Jo Jo ef Steve and not get a jazzed feeling in your bones. If the Dead C had kept making records in the vein of 'Operation Of The Sonne', but ditched the drums and the electric guitars, they might have ended up here. If the Clean got incredibly lazy and started forgetting to finish songs or turn the radio off or sing properly... 'One out of the box', as the puzzling NZ expression for something unusual goes. And, as for the name: there is no explanation; but somehow it does say it all.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Free Counter