Since his late teens, he has traveled the world honing his music, a skewed mix of folk and pop music far from the stereotypes of the kind. Through his wanderings between Prague’s ghetto and the fiery neighborhoods of Algeria’s Sidi Bel-Abbès he found the musicians that fill out the diverse sounds on the album.
He can’t sit still. From the brittle melodies of Winter Is Over through to the freakout jam that takes over the closer Hovering Machine (if we’re going to equate Jil’s music to Lou Reed’s work, let’s say the first is his Sunday Morning and the last is his Metal Machine Music), there is invention in abundance. Beyond a functioning debt to The Velvet Underground, Jil dips his creative mantle into a variety of genres and comes out of it sounding as wimsomely original as he possibly could.
Ultimately, the sound of Jill Is Lucky is a compound that becomes all of his own – taking cues from Herman Dune and Johnathan Richman, Bob Dylan, Sebadoh, dEUS, even the Violent Femmes – all pepped up with an amalgamation of world influences that just turn the whole thing on its head all the more. Throughout there is confidence here, from his brave songs to the wild hair that sits on his head. Even so, Jil does humble and he does beautiful as well as anyone else treading those folk boards. The gentle intimacies of “Don’t Talk” will ring true to anyone whose ears ever pricked up at the sound of a Cat Stevens record or who has defended Leonard Cohen in a conversation accusing him of being “too depressing”.
Lead single “The Wanderer” is a slice of near perfect pop music, a song that has made it as far as a Kenzo TV commercial, set to air this December on British TV. You could call that a break. Elsewhere “J.E.S.U.S. Said” is about as anthemic as gypsy folk gets.
Sometimes people who deserve it get lucky, let’s hope Jil is one of those. If luck has anything in common with talent, then he should be just fine. He picked a fine name to live up to.
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