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Review – Jamie Thorn & The Mystery Pacific
July 9, 2012
With the release of their debut EP A Simple Man’s Songs last year, Jamie Thorn and the Mystery Pacific, a five-piece outfit from south west London, are now gearing up for their second extended release, the title track and first release from which being Shorthand, which was released independently this week for free download.
After three years of local touring and self-publicity, JTATMP are ready to finally release their first full-length EP. Having had songs under his belt for at least a year, one can imagine songwriter and lead singer/guitarist Jamie Thorn’s relief at finally sending his music into the public domain. Shorthand is a testament to the enduring hard work put into the music by each member of the Mystery Pacific and their attention to detail. Such is evident in the softly rustic vocals of Thorn, and accompanying vocalist Christina Whitelock. Each contributes a distinctly acoustic tone to a already acoustic song from a band known for their folk roots. Previous releases such as A Song for Europe were known for their depiction of historic events, particularly European conflicts and wars. Shorthand follows this trend with the lyrics weaving a story of an Italian man forced into the occupation of Spain, with only the letters of his lover to comfort him. As always, Thorn’s lyrical ability manifests itself as he tells a story that is both poignant and comforting. The difference with Shorthand is that it is comparatively upbeat when held up next to the Mystery Pacific’s previous offerings. Having heard other snippets of the album, I can say that this is not going to be a recurring theme. Mystery Pacific offer a collection of moving tales that read like a history book. Shorthand‘s mix, unlike the others, offers bassier tones and a little more punch, especially with the instrumental bridge towards the end of the song. The interplay and overlapping of Whitelock’s and Thorn’s vocals, which fit each other perfectly, allow for a listener to not only hear, but experience. It feels like you’re sitting on a boat in the middle of the ocean and listening to some weathered old sea-captain tell the tales of his youth through a smoking pipe. It’s got that kind of feel to it.
And whilst the mixing of this one is somewhat unorthodox, I can vouch for Mystery Pacific’s ability to perform and create. Their live performance is a treat, and a recording does not do it justice. A band with this much character and originality – even with the proverbial tip of the hat to bygone eras – can surely only grow and prosper. I for one cannot wait to hear what the rest of the EP has to offer, which is due to be released in September. Jamie Thorn and The Mystery Pacific are definitely ones to watch.
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/jamiethornmusic (songs available for free download)