Kate Jackson

COSMO GODFREE is pleasantly surprised by the solo outing of former Long Blondes star Kate Jackson.

cosmo godfree Gig guitar Indie kate jackson long blondes Metropolis portland arms solo wonder feeling

Portland Arms, Thursday 9th February, £5

[rating: 4/5]

Do you remember The Long Blondes? If so, award yourself a pat on the cardigan – you’ve earned it! If not, go straight to jail, do not pass GO, do not collect 200 indie cred points.


Kate in her previous life

Amazing as they were, nobody would blame you for not having heard of them – the band split up in 2008 following two great albums but a whole lot of bad luck. Thankfully for fans and newcomers alike, lead singer Kate Jackson has ?nally embarked on her solo career proper, releasing double A-side Wonder Feeling/The Atlantic at the end of last year.

Not to place too much emphasis on this, but Kate is seriously sexy. Classic, posters-on-my bedroom-wall-when-I-was-fourteen kinda sexy. Responsible journalism be damned if that gets a few more people to check out her music. This particular appeal extends to the artwork that she designed for the new single, a sleeve of minimal noir glamour that sums up the music inside pretty well. We need more artists who can focus on their aesthetic like this without compromising the music.

So don’t worry, this isn’t a case of style over substance. Kate has one hell of a voice. It is equally capable of soothing and almost violent extremes as well as everything in between and totally suited to her gripping tales of lust and love. The new songs aired at the gig seem well developed, veering between big glam rock numbers and slightly more sedate country-tinged ones, leaving the disco-pop leanings of The Long Blondes behind for a more guitar-based assault.

Despite the fact that tonight’s show is billed as the Kate Jackson Group, her backing band de?nitely deserve a mention too – tight, muscular, versatile guitar playing and strong vocal harmonies that beef up the sound a considerable amount. Kate is clearly the focal point though, and she remains a really engaging front woman who has a seemingly natural af?nity with a crowd.

Wonder Feeling came early on in the set, and was very well received, but for me the highlight was the ?nal song, Metropolis. I’m shocked to be writing these words, but I think on this evidence Kate’s new project can stand almost on a par with her former band, which is all the more surprising as she didn’t event write the majority of the Long Blondes stuff. Actually that’s not strictly true, she penned the stunning single Separated By Motorways, so I shouldn’t really have doubted her talent.

Even if the material doesn’t quite reach the lofty heights of Someone to Drive You Home, it’s still early days yet, and in less than an hour tonight I am transformed from ambivalent to very excited about her upcoming debut album. When can you come back to Cambridge, Kate?