Home Read Classic Album Review: Joe Jackson Band | Volume 4

Classic Album Review: Joe Jackson Band | Volume 4

The piano pounder gets the band back together for a likable, unspectular reunion.

This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


OK, so you can’t go home again — but you can still visit the old gang every once in a while.

Twenty years after he disbanded his first group, idiosyncratic piano-popster Joe Jackson has finally decided to take a stroll down memory lane. So he’s reunited with guitarist Gary Sanford, bassist Graham Maby and drummer Dave Houghton for the likable, if unspectacular Volume 4. Reining in his recent penchant for grand symphonic flights, Jackson offers up a set of simple genre pieces — the ska-rock Take It Like A Man, the ’60s pop Still Alive, the glammy Little Bit Stupid, the Stonesy Dirty Martini and so on — that are his most easily digested work in years. For their part, the lads show they’re still the best backing band he ever had, tastefully and distinctively infusing the cuts with vigor and momentum. Trouble is, nothing here holds a candle to One More Time and I’m The Man — a fact brought home undeniably by the stunning live EP of oldies included here. Hearing the band tear through Got The Time and On Your Radio with the vitality of their youth, you realize Jackson got it backwards with Volume 4: There should be a full disc of live oldies and a new EP. After all, if you’re gonna go home for a visit, you ought to stay a while.