Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Jackson Browne - Looking East (1996)


  

Released February 1996

Into the mid-nineties, and every few years, Jackson Browne was still putting out quality albums. As with the previous one, despite being "aware", this was once more not quite as much of a political album as his eighties offerings, although it was more overt than its predecessor, "I'm Alive".

TRACK LISTING

1. Looking East
2. The Barricades Of Heaven
3. Some Bridges
4. Information Wars
5. I'm The Cat
6. Culver Moon
7. Baby How Long?
8. Niño
9. Alive In The World
10. It Is One

The title track begins the album in muscular, Stones-ish riffy fashion. It is a solid rocker not quite in Browne's usual style - hard-hitting and sonically powerful. The song is lyrically not quite as verbose as usual, either. It is a convincing, enjoyable track. "The Barricades Of Heaven" is classic Jackson Browne rock - melodic, strong yet tender in its vocal delivery and backing, full of nostalgic, thoughtful lyrics. Another excellent track. "Some Bridges" is a socially conscious song about the disparity between rich and poor and musically, is another catchy mid-pace rocker, with some of that classic Browne guitar in the middle. "Information Wars" is a brooding, cynical number about the problems new technology brings, featuring some excellent guitar and it has a Paul Simon-style "world music"-influenced, percussive backing in places.

"I'm The Cat" is a catchy, Springsteen-esque AOR-style rocker. "Culver Moon" is very like latter-era Dire Straits or some of Mark Knopfler's solo material. Again, it is strong and chunkily guitar-driven. "Baby How Long?" is in the same vein, but even more slow-paced and bluesy. "Niño", is, as the title suggests, Latin-influenced. Its riff actually reminds me a lot of Talking Heads' "Nothing But Flowers". It has an infectious Latin percussion backing and singalong vocal. It is full of Los Angeles references and is quite an intoxicating, ebullient track. "Alive In The World" has some fetching guitar and a nice laid-back rock feel to it.

"It Is One" revisits Browne's interest in reggae rhythms, although this one has definite hints of South African township jive in its lilting guitar sounds. It is a fine track upon which to end this excellent album. I marginally prefer it to "I'm Alive". Both are good albums, however.

B+

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