Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
So few of us follow through on our broader dreams, content, satisfied with forever imagining what life would be like if only we had the time, or the will, to create the conditions in which we could be happy, or at least proud of being the person we want to be. It is not necessarily our fault, the cosmos conspires, fate lends a hand, and there is always a million chores to be done, perhaps by looking for our dream, holding the vision as if it were made of gossamer or the thin veils of intricate spider’s webs, we are reassured that we have at least given our life meaning.
John Jenkins and the James Street Band’s Looking For That American Dream can be seen as a place where the ambition is met with a firm handshake and the deeds to reality, the vision crafted by the Liverpool band is one that feels more than just a series of songs put together, it is the expression of form also suited to the gathering of words and ideas that bind together to form a vast introspection worthy of a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald or a screenplay by Elia Kazan, one brought about the riches sought, the other the cold, beautiful honesty of the perils of chasing down that dream.
John Jenkins, Denis Parkinson, David Nixon, Dave Orford, Steve Atkinson, Lee Warren Shone offer themselves to the idea, they can be physically heard to be laying down foundations in which the album’s strength is to be congratulated. It is in the search for idealism, truth and conveying passion that John Jenkins has always placed direction on, the dream must acknowledge the traumatic and the burden upon the soul, but it must always be one grounded in contemplation, forethought and serene reverie.
It is in these wonderful qualities that Looking For That American Dream is to be seen as a dynamic journey, one capable of travelling from Pier 17 straddling the New York skyline to the outer reaches mapped out by Lewis and Clark, one built on hope and discovery.
With exceptional additional musicianship by Jon Lawton, Camila Alice Sky, Vanessa Murray, John Armstrong, Ian Davis, Amy Chalmers, Thom Morecroft and Marc Vormawah, John Jenkins and the James Street Band’s Looking For That American Dream is just that, a bugle horn to raise the standard, but one that must be seen as being an homage to personal vivacity, honour, of someone constantly pushing themselves to realise their own dream.
Ian D. Hall