peter jefferies The Last Great Challenge In a Dull World (CD, £12.95)label: De Stijl
Peter Jefferies’ extraordinary debut solo album first saw life as a cassette via the Xpressway label of Port Chalmers, New Zealand, in 1990. As a result of some international underground acclaim in fanzines and mail order catalogues – for both the album and a striking 7-inch, “The Fate of the Human Carbine”, released around the same time - it soon appeared on LP and CD as well, through the Ajax label of Chicago. Within a couple of years it slipped out of print and out of sight. 20 years later we're putting it back on wax which includes the songs from the attendant single, and no amount of remastering, whatsoever. Though no one’s gotten around to writing a book on it yet, The Last Great Challenge in a Dull World nonetheless stands as one of the singular singer-songwriter albums of all time, existing on a sparsely populated plane with Pink Moon, Blues Run the Game, Our Mother the Mountain and not many others. In a sandy voice that soothes and slashes, Jefferies offers a piercingly, crushingly lucid view of the endeavour of life, all our pain and small glories rendered in tones both harrowing and tender. On piano, drums and percussion, he pounds out melodies that roar, sweep and lilt, accompanied on many songs by the serrated guitars of a variety of players. Featuring a small team of South Island heavy-hitters – all three members of the Dead C as well as David Mitchell (3Ds), Alastair Galbraith, Kathy Bull (Look Blue Go Purple, Cyclops), Nigel Taylor and Robbie Muir (who’s co-billed on the single) – Last Great Challenge provides a pivot point in Jefferies’ formidable recording career, which included two bands he shared with his brother Graeme in the ‘80s, Nocturnal Projections and This Kind of Punishment, and four further solo albums, as well as stints in bands here (Mecca Normal, Two Foot Flame) and there (Plagal Grind, Cyclops).
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