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Jackson Jackson

Written by Zarina Varley on October 9, 2008

Jackson Jackson. No, I haven’t stuttered and you’re not seeing double. That’s the name of Melbourne duo Harry Angus and Jan Skubiszewski who have just released their second album Tools For Survival.

Stylistically it’s very different from their first album, The Fire Is On The Bird, which was nominated for Best Urban Release at last year’s ARIA Awards. However urban and quirky their first album was, this time around they’ve opted for a different approach, namely more lyricism and melodia, which has got me feeling the need to break into contemporary dance moves at inappropriate moments.

“Jan and I write all the songs together and this time we wanted to write something sincere and emotional“ Harry tells me over the phone. “We’d never written songs about our own relationships before so we wanted to kind of make it romantic and melodic.” I tell him I find the album almost haunting to a degree, that some of its melodies, however beautiful, are still quite dark. “Well that wasn’t what we’d intended to do” He says, “but we weren’t going to shy away from it.”

My favourite track from the album, Til The Heavens Fall is a hypothetical love song, in that it didn’t happen to either of them. “It’s about a car crash, so it’s not something that happened to us, but it’s sadly kind of common. Lyrically it’s a simple track but it builds and builds to this epic second half where you can really hear the whole Jackson Jackson experience” That of course being The Genie (fusion trio comprising of The Cat Empire’s rhythm section) and the aptly titled Jackson Jackson Five (five piece mini-choir).

Thematically as well Tools For Survival is quite different from The Fire Is On The Bird. However, about midway through the album, there is a bit of a reminder. “Most of the tracks on the first album deal with escapism to an underground world or to outer space, but Atlantis is the only one on this album to touch on it except that they’re going underwater” he tells me. “It’s kind of like a transitionary track from the first album to this one.”

We of course then broached the subject of his favourite track from the album, which is the one from which the album takes its name and the closing track. “I love Tools For Survival. It’s very grand terminology and is just about moving to the country, despite however complex and elaborate it sounds.”

With a name like Jackson Jackson one can’t help but kind wonder what influenced their choice. “In the end we decided on Jackson Jackson because if you search for say Michael Jackson on the net, it could come up with us. It was also influenced by all the great Jacksons – Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, LaToya Jackson, Joe Jackson, Jackson Brown and Jackson Mendoza…remember that bad 90’s pop duo?” he says with a laugh.

Be sure to check out the whole Jackson Jackson experience at the Oxford Art Factory on October 14 and grab a copy of ‘Tools For Survival’ – out now!

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