words by tom johnson
“This record is about the relationship between light and dark in ourselves as humans,” so the foreword for Jack’s new Alchemical Rounds LP tells us, and that endless, omnipresent tug-o-war is indeed pitted right in the core of her phenomenal new record; every moment of bliss countered by a crunch of harsh noise; every dive in to shadowy depths followed by a lungful of fresh, bright air.
The project of Brittany Costa, Jack has grown with stature on each moment released from the record thus far, and Alchemical Rounds is the gnarly, striking pinnacle of that climb, offering nine forceful, dynamic tracks that make good on the comparisons drawn so far; Angel Olsen meeting Pile in a tumbled knot of blood and guts. “It takes the world to bring me down / It takes the world to put me back together,” Costa sings on the mighty ‘Anxiety’ – and so it does; and so it does.
One of those billowing, blustering lamentations on love and life, the record has a lyrical edge that often brings the balance where the music pummels on forthright and brash. “Like skin to skin to wooden floors, into a warmth that feels just right,” she sings on ‘A Kick A Knife’ a rare, sweet moment of allure on an otherwise mighty track, that finds itself boxed within an otherwise more scathing document of love and graces, of the fallout from it all: “I can’t stop my breathing from exhaling on “leaving” and sitting my mind down when doubting it more,” she sings on the subtle, skewed ‘A Red Sky Forming’: “Will you feed me your secrets, on letting all your regrets fall like sand through fingers to the floor?”
A crushing, heavy, adventurous record, Alchemical Rounds isn’t an easy listen but nothing pulled from roots such as these ever was. It asks questions it can’t answer, it bellows answers you might come to doubt, it throws desires in to the night sky, knowing there isn’t any follow-up, the words scattering like a rabid firework, flashing bright and gone forever: “I’m so tired of boxes. I’m so tired of different homes.”
For all of its harrowing nature, it’s mightily impressive regardless; a record steeped in the charged and explosive by-product of relationships, from the bitter crumbs left behind to harden, to its swaying and woozy dramatical stance, a posture that will undoubtedly mean the world to those who find solace in its rugged, uncomfortable embrace.
You can stream the album thing below right now; it’s released this week via Sad Cactus Records.
Tour Dates (with Dreambeaches):
3/1/18 – Buffalo, NY – Mohawk Place (release show)
3/2/18 – Cleveland, OH – Mahall’s
3/3/18 – Detroit, MI – PJ’s
3/4/18 – Chicago, IL – House Show
3/5/18 – Bloomington, IN – Blockhaus
3/6/18 – Nashville, TN – Spice Rack
3/7/18 – New Orleans, LA – Hi-Ho Lounge
3/8/18 – New Orleans, LA – Sidney’s Saloon
3/10/18 – Atlanta, GA – TBA
3/11/18 – Asheville, NC – Static Age
3/12/18 – Harrisonburg, VA – The Golden Pony
3/13/18 – Baltimore, MD – Milkboy’s ArtHouse
3/14/18 – Philadelphia, PA – Space 1026
3/15/18 – Northampton, MA – Flywheel Arts Collective
3/16/18 – Bloomfield, CT – Blind Moose
3/17/18 – Brooklyn, NY – The Glove