From a mighty combination of vintage synths, melodic folk and honest storytelling comes France, the highly anticipated second album from Jethro Pickett.
Recorded and produced by multiple ARIA award winner Shane O’Mara (Paul Kelly, Tim Rogers, Lisa Miller) at his Yikesville studio in Melbourne’s inner west, France plays with a sense of magic that shapes its unique, ambitious and comforting style.
France is worldlier than its predecessor, inspired from Jethro’s time touring the UK and Europe. It’s a personal and introspective look at the beauty and trauma of life, carrying with it a sense of mysticism and surprise.
Jethro Pickett’s self-produced debut record By The Time I Get To Wilmot rang with stories from the singer’s formative years in the remote Tasmanian wilderness. The sound of his second album sits in stark contrast to the expansive landscapes that inspired those lo-fi tunes.
A new, equally magical mood on France is born from rhythms crafted by Ben Wiesner (The Audreys, Missy Higgins), Adrian Whitehead (Even, The Badloves), and an Acetone Rhythm Ace drum machine from 1973.
The album is full of classic guitar sounds harking to the folky touchstones of Neil Young, while drawing on the synth sounds of a 1980s West German nightclub. Layered by Pickett’s warm voice and coloured by an electric 12-string, the resulting tracks serve as the perfect companion to a lonely night.
Opening track Gene serves as the first single of the album and tells the tale of an individual whose life mirrors that of the late great (Wonka Era) Gene Wilder. Lorelei is a metaphoric and powerful track bolstered by sparky strings, while France rolls like a narrative-driven dream plucked by soulful guitar.
I Just Want to Know is a slowed-down love song, anchored by Jethro Pickett’s soothing vocals and the familiar Rhythm Ace. The track builds from sparsity into a lush soundscape, perfectly encapsulating the mood of the record.
If you’re in need of an album to soundtrack the beauty and absurdity of life, look no further than France. This is a record enriched by odyssey, intrigue and above all – uniqueness.
France is available now via Behind the Beat Records.