Volume 4

( 1 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Reunions -- particularly the back-to-the-roots variety -- are generally shaky propositions, since most folks move so far from their original stomping ground that even a detailed map won't lead them back to square one. Joe Jackson and his original backing band prove the exception to the rule on this silver anniversary celebration, which re-creates the mood of the band's power-pop past without lapsing into mere xerography of the "good old days." His recent immersion in lighter genres hasn't dulled Jackson's sharp melodic sense, as evidenced by the sparse thwack of "Bright Grey" and the ska tinges that adorn "Thugs R Us," a tune that could, in fact, pass for a Look ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
Reunions -- particularly the back-to-the-roots variety -- are generally shaky propositions, since most folks move so far from their original stomping ground that even a detailed map won't lead them back to square one. Joe Jackson and his original backing band prove the exception to the rule on this silver anniversary celebration, which re-creates the mood of the band's power-pop past without lapsing into mere xerography of the "good old days." His recent immersion in lighter genres hasn't dulled Jackson's sharp melodic sense, as evidenced by the sparse thwack of "Bright Grey" and the ska tinges that adorn "Thugs R Us," a tune that could, in fact, pass for a Look Sharp! outtake. Jackson and company could always be counted on for sprinkling unexpected seasoning over their tunes, a tradition that's maintained here with the Latin veneer of "Take It like a Man" and the neo-Bacharach lilt of "Blue Flame." Volume 4 has its dull spots -- most of which crop up when the band adheres too closely to the gospel according to John, Paul, George, and Ringo -- but for the most part, it's more a breath of fresh air than a museum piece.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It only took two albums before Joe Jackson got restless, pushing away from the nervy, high-octane, well-crafted punk-pop of Look Sharp! and I'm the Man toward the ska leanings of Beat Crazy, before abandoning the Joe Jackson Band altogether. Without them, he roamed wild, laying the groundwork for neo-swing with Jumpin' Jive and etching out sophisti-pop on his Cole Porter/George Gershwin-flavored Night and Day, before expanding into symphonic compositions and other increasingly esoteric stylistic exercises, whittling his audience down to just the dedicated in the process. Even among those dedicated fans, the first two Jackson albums were cherished, and Jackson acknowledged that on occasion by appropriating the sound, as on 1991's Laughter & Lust. Still, it took him a full 23 years to reunite his original band, an event celebrated by the release of Volume 4 the title indicating that this is the fourth go-round for this band, kind of like how Van Halen III kicked off the third incarnation of the band. It would be inaccurate to say that this captures the bristling energy or spitting vitriol of the first two records, though Volume 4 certainly follows a similar template and often feels similar in form, if not in substance, to that pair. It also recalls Night and Day in parts ironically, moreso than the explicit 2000 sequel Night and Day II, which means it winds up being a revival of the classic Joe Jackson sound instead of the Joe Jackson Band. Frankly, that's not a problem; if this is going to be a nostalgia exercise, at least in part, it should be about the overarching idea of Jackson as much as the particulars. Plus, it's a good record -- his best pure pop in at least a decade. It's a little front-loaded and, at times, it may seem a little labored or self-conscious, but usually it sounds relaxed and tuneful, as if Jackson is relieved to just be cutting a record of pop tunes instead of worrying about a grand concept or symphonic movements. And while the band certainly has mellowed with age, they still bring his music to life better than any other outfit he's worked with, giving it definition and muscle. It may be true that Volume 4 isn't as lively or vital as his first five albums, but it's also more satisfying as a pop record than anything he's done since Body & Soul, which is more than enough to make it a worthy comeback.
Rolling Stone - Richard Abowitz
Volume 4 is certainly more crafty and less visceral than Jackson's early-Eighties music, but that doesn't mean it is less rewarding.
The New Yorker - Ben Greenman
Musically, [Jackson] succeeds wonderfully. The band delivers sharp, ska-inflected pop that only rarely indulges in overblown orchestration, and his vocals have the same keening edge they did a quarter-century ago.

Volume 4 is certainly more crafty and less visceral than Jackson's early-Eighties music, but that doesn't mean it is less rewarding.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/13/2008
  • Label: Rykodisc Uk
  • UPC: 014431063923
  • Catalog Number: 639
  • Sales rank: 32,193

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Take It Like a Man (3:24)
  2. 2 Still Alive (3:42)
  3. 3 Awkward Age (3:22)
  4. 4 Chrome (4:21)
  5. 5 Love at First Light (4:08)
  6. 6 Fairy Dust (3:47)
  7. 7 Little Bit Stupid (3:28)
  8. 8 Blue Flame (5:23)
  9. 9 Dirty Martini (4:51)
  10. 10 Thugz 'R' Us (3:23)
  11. 11 Bright Grey (4:17)
Disc 2
  1. 1 One More Time (3:15)
  2. 2 Is She Really Going Out With Him? (4:12)
  3. 3 On Your Radio (5:15)
  4. 4 Got the Time (3:47)
  5. 5 It's Different for Girls (4:15)
  6. 6 I'm the Man (4:21)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Joe Jackson Band Primary Artist
Joe Jackson Indexed Contributor, Vocals, Piano, Organ, Electric Piano, Melodica
Graham Maby Bass, Vocals
Gary Sanford Guitar, Vocals
Dave Houghton Drums, Vocals
Technical Credits
Joe Jackson Producer
Frank Olinsky Art Direction
Julie Gardner Engineer
Ted Jensen Mastering
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    Posted October 14, 2008

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