Jeremy Fisher - Mint Juleps

Jeremy Fisher is not afraid of hard work. In 2001 he supported his debut album with a tour of North America during which he travelled solely by bicycle. Thankfully, while he has since presumably made enough money to afford a proper tour bus, his ethos of creating low-budget but well-crafted music has not been abated. The fact he still tours by bike, despite having four albums (and now five) albums under his belt, only helps cement his image as a traditionalist trapped in the body of a Canadian youth with frizzy hair.

Mint Juleps, an album probably named after the bourbon-and-mint cocktail rather than the 2010 cult romance film, starts just as one would expect from a singer-songwriter - Gone bursts to life with a twang and a beat that could almost have been taken straight from a hoedown; the bounce of a rich double bass propels the tune along. It sounds as organic as an album recorded live off the studio floor should. This sound is carried on through a few cheesy love songs before the fingered arpeggios of The Part That Breaks begin to showcase the more technical aspects of Fisher’s music.

To keep the Canadian influence kindling on this warm fire of a record, around nine tenths of I Lost My Baby is sung in French typical of a bilingual Quebecker. This injects a little variety into proceedings, and it comes at an opportune time; the most obvious flaw in this album, and arguably any solo album, is that there is only so much one can do with a guitar and voice. While some effort is put into incorporating additional sounds - such as the banjo that gleefully leaps in on every second song with archetypal abandon, the spikes of metallic percussion interposed to keep a beat - the record struggles to avoid sounding homogeneous throughout.

It is a flaw that tarnishes what is really a fantastic selection of upbeat ditties, and some of said ditties are frustratingly melodious; Tetris Song uses a metaphor that, while perhaps out of place on this particular record, is undeniably cute and the song itself could feasibly have been used in an advert for mobile phones. It is perhaps a little ironic that the best music to found on this record is that which utilises minimal instrumentation and instead focuses on Fisher’s frankly superb use of language.

“I’d rather roll in the daisies with my little lady than slave away all damn day and all damn night for a maximum wage,” he crones on single Built To Last, a song that, remarkably, has been a mainstay of his live setup since at least 2009. A song about escaping modern-day struggles simply by leading a relaxed and carefree lifestyle, it bobbles along merrily and has the strange effect of having listeners apply that ideology in their heads. All in all, Mint Juleps is a buoyant folk romp that, while not the most epic of records, is still a jaunty, bouncy collection that more than gets by on its own two wheels.


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