Jackie-O Motherfucker Fig.5/Liberation

Jackie-O Motherfucker have seen their stock rise in the past few years, a run that saw them sign to Touch & Go in 2003, then garner the cover of The Wire not too long after. Now, the All Tomorrow’s Parties label has reissued their first two albums, 2000’s Fig.5 and 2001’s Liberation. JOMF fuse the hedonism of counter-culture with the enigmatic appeal of the avant-garde. They careen through folk, psychedelia, post-rock, musique concrete and jazz so loosely that disparate elements of any and all of these genres may be working on a single improvisation, let alone a single album. What’s astonishing is how singular and unified the end result sounds. Their closest affinities lie with that other American improv collective, the reclusive No Neck Blues Band, but they seem more intrigued by the music industry. These two reissues have the distinct quality of sounding as timeless now as they did when they first saw the light of day. Fig.5 slightly edges out Liberation in terms of being a more cohesive album experience, but Liberation sees the collective testing out with more vigour. Both albums have a tendency to slip into the lackadaisical irony of Thrill Jockey’s jazzier output, but that’s small shrift given the bravura of most of the material here. (ATP)