How to Make Love, Vol.1

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So titled because it's Anthony Reynolds from Jack, with the help of bandmate Matthew Scott, doing his version of a swooningly romantic, Continental pop album, Jacques makes an elegantly dissipated debut with How to Make Love, Vol. 1. The core Jacques partnership on this album is Reynolds and one of his personal heroes, Momus, whose own European obsessions and meditations on love, lust, and desire make a perfect touchstone for Reynolds' approach. Momus says as much himself in the sly liner notes, describing himself as "having a place amongst the torn pictures sellotaped to [Reynolds'] bathroom wall" alongside the likes of Scott Walker and Jacques Brel. There's a definite feeling of both artists in particular on How to Make Love, especially the former, though arguably a more personal, focused version, partially due to the production on the singing, emphasizing close contact instead of commanding power. Reynolds takes the lead vocals throughout, while he, Scott, and Momus more or less split the music, the latter contributing keyboards and samples that spike the dark, streetlamp-lit flow of the album. It's at once a knowing and deadly serious combination, touching on everything from hip-hop beats gone boulevardier swing ("We Can, We Will") to bedsit anthems in miniature. Hearing Reynolds away from the fuller arrangements of his key band in favor of a more technological but no less rich approach, one which audibly bears Momus' own particular stamp, makes for a wonderfully enjoyable fusion. One can easily imagine the images of "porno in a church," as mentioned on "Two Lovers," as being something appropriate for either Jack's or Momus' own individual work. Scott's own efforts are quite worthy, including the strong solo instrumental "Death of an Ex-Lover" and his full collaboration with Reynolds, "Disillusioned With the Light of a Dead and Distant Star."

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