Momentum :: UM-105

Luke Jackson

Urban Myth proudly re-releases Luke Jackson’s label debut “Momentum.”

Momentum was — and remains — a breathtaking joyride melding sixties singer-songwriter depth, seventies classic rock virtuosity and craft, an eighties flair for insistent power-pop hooks and an unapologetic heaviness redolent of the grunge explosion. All performed by a young, ambitious and dedicated band in their twenties.

Born and raised in London, England, Jackson found himself deeply engaged in the Toronto music scene within a few months of arriving there in the fall of 1997. His loyalties still divided, Jackson released his 1998 debut Split on British indie label Antic Lotion–it was mostly written and recorded in London but mixed and mastered in Toronto. Embraced by a loyal, devoted community of music makers and lovers there, Luke settled in the young, thriving Queen Street West district and began writing and recording the songs that became momentum.

Soon backed by a commandingly fluid trio of Toronto scene veterans––Sean Szutka, second guitar; Scott Sherman, bass; and Pete Morrison, drums––the Luke Jackson band caught audiences’ attention not only with their energy and sheer rock crunch, but also with their ability to break it down and communicate Luke’s singer-songwriter dynamics–you can actually understand his passionate lyrics and frequently intricate, often melancholy melodies.

Luke’s intensely personal songs meld the earnestness and intelligence of a young Pete Townshend or Neil Young with the sonics of contemporary hard rock. Leading off with the driving, anthemic Shoot Me Down and ending with the brooding farewell Vancuva, the band’s momentum easily carries over the breadth of 11 originals and a well-chosen cover of the King’s X chestnut Legal Kill (with a new, inventive string arrangement).

Why Can’t I Just Say is a riff-driven highlight with an undeniably catchy chorus and Luke’s bone-crunching Vibrolux tone. The paranoid stomper Everything’s Alright begins with a stylus dropping on a Brian May-like e-bow army and ends with stacked vocal choruses over bursts of controlled feedback reminiscent of both Fripp and Cobain. The upbeat Kickstand chugs along over a spiralling 6/4 beat, an evocative declaration of newly found love. We could draw endless comparisons in any number of genres, but the style and perspective are always Luke’s own.

I Remain stands out in particular, an uptempo acoustic power-pop number that unflinchingly examines his distance from his home–literally–and becomes a unabashedly earnest thank you to his family, with uncommon wit, depth and a surprisingly crunchy chorus. A far cry from the generic angst of many of his guitar rock peers.

Recorded mostly by Luke himself (an accomplished recording engineer in his own right) in his home project studio and mixed and mastered at Toronto’s Umbrella Sound by Joao Carvalho and Greg O’Shea (Big Sugar, Treble Charger, Hayden, Hawksley Workman), momentum sports a warm, classic rock sound that gives little indication of its home studio origins.

Luke’s follow-up, 2008’s “…And Then Some” combined the superb all-analogue studio setting and Swedish power pop pick-up band of Christoffer Lundquist (producer and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire, former member of Roxette and founding member of Brainpool) with the inspired string arrangements of the late Robert Kirby (Nick Drake, Elton John amongst many many others) but this is the place to hear Luke Jackson in his most visceral rock and roll moment.