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Jesse Harris and The Ferdinandos | Crooked Lines (Bean)
New York songwriter Harris has talent in abundance and perhaps that's why he's decided to cram seventeen tracks into this full-length when a few less songs and a little more considered sequencing would have been beneficial. While I'm at it he'd do well to drop the ungainly 'and the Ferdinandos' and repackage the thing record in a way that doesn't shout 'cut-out bin' too. Personal observations aside, 'Crooked Lines' boasts some magical moments, like the swaggering opener If He Asks You That or the trio of superb ballads Sand and Glass, World of Trouble and Another Place (which closed CwaS Vol 4), where Harris' expressive voice and lilting sense of melody shine brightly. Elsewhere the title track employs Jesse Murphy's upright bass and, like the soothing Rockaway, is an exercise in taste and restraint, qualities that enhance Harris' strengths more than the Latin-flavoured It's Your Fault or Do You Ever Dance When You're Alone which probably fare better in the clubs of New York than in a Chiswick bedroom. Within 'Crooked Lines' lies a classy 40 minute classic.

Matt Dornan
CWAS #9 - Winter 2002