For those not familiar with The Jigsaw Seen, this venerable Los Angeles-based band has been around for nearly three decades, driving a dedicated legion of followers with their delicious spin on art rock, psychedelia, garage rock and Americana. This new album, For The Discriminating Completist, is a career-spanning retrospective on Burger Records gathering tracks originally released on the Del-Fi, Eggbert, Get Hip, Rhino/Warner, Skyclad and Vibro-phonic labels that were previously unavailable on any of the band’s albums.
The collection includes The Jigsaw Seen’s very unique/original interpretations of songs by Arthur Lee (“Lucy Baines”), The Bee Gees (“Melody Fair”), Henry Mancini (“Baby Elephant Walk”) and an unbelievable take on “The Best Is Yet To Come” that I’m sure neither Frank Sinatra nor Tony Bennett could have envisioned, in addition to hard-to-find versions of eight of the band’s most popular songs.
The album, indeed, begins with the aforementioned “The Best Is Yet To Come” and you really have to sit back and think because, simply put, it sounds so original. As well, their upbeat, poppy version of “Melody Fair” is as bouncy and joyful as it, again, has a stamp on it that makes it their own; “We Women” with the electric sitar riffing and bongo background is as delightful in neo-psychedelia as you can get and “Jim Is The Devil” is The Jigsaw Seen taking on Andy Partridge’s style and turning it upside down with chiming 12-string Ric and a strident rhythm alongside tongue-in-cheek lyrics. “Have A Wonderful Day” is a tougher power pop excursion with crunchy guitars and classic melody; “When You’re Pretty” reminds me of those glorious days of the Paisley Underground – like a missed opportunity by The Rain Parade and “My Name Is Tom” (which appeared on the Children Of Nuggets boxset) sounds like it was, indeed, recorded around ’67.
Succinctly put, if you were going to begin working your way through the lengthy discography of The Jigsaw Seen, this is the perfect primer. A dozen stellar tracks; diverse musical styles and a firepower matched by few. This is, as accuately described, The Jigsaw Seen – for the discriminating completist.
*The Jigsaw Seen will be touring East Coast tour in March, 2017 and making a stop at SXSW to play the Burger Records showcase Saturday, March 18th.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – ESSENTIAL LISTENING
For The Discriminating Completist will be released on Friday, January 27th, 2017