Supporting Vashti Bunyan, Jo Mango found herself on her third plane of the day, and that’s going to have an impact on you. For me, having to take my belt off three times to pass through the security check would be close to intolerable and if I had to listen to three different sets of idiots applauding a plane landing, I would be going mental by the end of it. Thankfully Jo seems more mild-mannered than me and her thoughts fell on the impact her life was having on the environment.
It’s a slow and steady start on Loneliness and Rhythm with Jo’s vocals interplaying with Louis Abbot’s (from Admiral Fallow) quite sweetly. It’s a stark musical backing, stabbing in and out as opposed to flowing effortlessly but this adds to the feel of the song, giving it a slight edge.
Of course, the mention of friends is an understatement or it perhaps indicates that Jo Mango is far better at making friends than most of us. That isn’t a criticism of my pals, if they put up with me they’re generally closer to Sainthood than sinners but Jo’s friends include Rachel Sermanni, RM Hubbert, Louis Abbott and The Pictish Trail. This is no old pals act though; everyone pulls their weight and leaves a mark on the collection.
Sustain features RM Hubbert and is a more delicate vocal affair but the plucked guitar offers a blend of fragility and robustness. The EP is one that you can lose yourself in, which is great for leaving on in the background but there are times when bits flicker and jump out at you, with a lot of Sustain holding this quality.
Believe Me I Know is a brighter and lighter moment, at least musically, adding a nice touch of bouncy pop to proceedings. It’s not a banger or a floor-filler but the tempo and mood perks up noticeably and you’ll find your head bopping and your toe tapping in no time at all.
The Sky Exploded features Jo all on her lonesome but it’s no weaker for it. This is another delightful song, which is all the more noteworthy considering it touches on travel and even bathroom etiquette with respect to the cleaning of towels.
You can listen to Bitter Fruit, the song Jo performs with Rachel Sermanni, right here and we’re sure you’ll agree it’s rather lovely:
When it comes to EPs, never mind EPs with a theme, I feel as though there needs to be a strong feel to the songs otherwise it just comes across as a single and assorted B-sides. There are lofty aims on Wrack Lines but the collections of songs fit so cohesively well together than I think the aims are achieved.
Wrack Lines will be released on CD and on digital format through Olive Grove Records on 15 January 2016.
Returning to the opening thought of the review, if you’ve set yourself a New Years’ Resolution to head along to more live shows, you’re in luck. The EP is being launched with a one-off performance in Platform in Easterhouse in Glasgow on the 21st of January. The gig is part of the Celtic Connections celebrations and it’s a great venue, which is really close to the motorway, so you’ll be able to get to and from it sharpish if needs be.
If you’d like to learn more about the Fields of Green project, which aims to determine what musicians, crowds and festival organisers can do to create a more environmental sustainable environment and outlook, click here.