Album, Single and EP Reviews



  The Cost of Living by Jason Webley

The Cost of Living cover art

Artist: Jason Webley
Title: The Cost of Living
Catalogue Number: Eleven Records
Review Format: LP
Release Year: 2008

Having recently seen Jason Webley (and his magic hat) perform live, it seemed only decent to seek out his back catalogue. Fortunately, some of it is available on vinyl. On particularly lurid orange and black vinyl in the case of "The Cost of Living" but on vinyl nonetheless.

Whilst Jason Webley's live shows are energetic, boisterous affairs, his albums seem altogether darker and more reflective. Don't get me wrong. This no journey into the depths of depression and self pity like you get from the Morrisseys of this world (there is only one, I hope?). What you get here instead is a feeling of dignity and perhaps even insight into the human condition. It's the sort of thing that Tom Waits does so well but Jason Webley seems closer to the ordinary man in the street than the lost and the dispossessed. I suppose you could compare his song writing to the best of the country genre but he sings with the effervescence of a gypsy. In "Meet Your Bride", for example, Jason Webley starts off the song like it is a folk song before taking way over the top in a highly theatrical fashion. The standard of musicianship is high throughout and the album sounds nothing like the compressed fodder that we have become used to. The songs just soar when they need to and nuzzle quietly in the grooves when they have to.

Pressed in a limited run of 1,111, this album just sounded great. There is something about vinyl - there was a CD of the album inside the sleeve as well so that the audiophiles amongst you can make an easy comparison - that suits this kind of music well. The downside of such coloured vinyl is that your heart skips a beat as your expensive stylus descends - have you actually aimed it at the lead-in groove? A damn fine album.
Review Date: November 15 2008