Jassbusters [Mexican Summer]
“You can do anything to get good grades. Anything,” says the lingering narrator at the midpoint of Connan Mockasin’s latest record, Jassbusters. Sinister undertones abound, lyrically (B’nd and You Can Do Anything) and throughout the eight lethargic funk-led melodies, to strengthen the story created by Mockasin.
Entering into a Connan Mockasin album, the listener is offered an introduction into the world they are about to settle into. On this occasion, the setting is a high school. Jassbusters is a concept album better understood after you watch a five-part companion film entitled ‘Bostyn ’n Dobsyn’. It features Mockasin as Mr. Bostyn, a high school music teacher who plays in a band with his fellow music teachers.
Predominantly featuring guitar chords lifted from the 1970s that are set to equally slumberous vocals that waver between gorgeous harmonies on Momo’s and the voice of the sleazy narrator. “Your grades are slipping everywhere, except for music”, says the principal to Dobsyn, the student of the school, to break B’nd’s otherwise gorgeous instrumental.
Far less expansive and experimental than Mockasin’s previous records, particularly 2011’s wonderfully weird Forever Dolphin Love, Jassbusters, nonetheless, is an enjoyable and enticing record from New Zealand’s most interesting musician.
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Words: Zara Hedderman