Jo Mango's new e.p. Wrack Lines sees her and four leading Scottish singer-songwriters explore the dichotomy that exists between being a musician on the road and the toll that touring takes on the environment. Jo became conscious of her own personal carbon footprint as she toured America by plane and road in 2007, causing her to fully consider the sustainability (or unsustainability) of life on the road. Wrack Lines is an e.p. immersed in these concerns, from its superb artwork that uses the tracked movements of each artist throughout the 2015 festival season, to each track's lyrical concerns, making it, not only a superb e.p, but also something to really cause you to consider your own environmental impact. Above all else though, it's a wonderful example of fine songwriting.
Opener Loneliness and Rhythm featuring Admiral Fallow's Louis Abbot is an intimate duet between he and Jo, with the vocals almost whispered to each other over a stark but atmospheric musical accompaniment. RM Hubbert pops up on the next track, Sustain, which is a quite lovely, dreamlike track, delicate but captivating. My personal favourite, Believe Me, I Know featuring the ever excellent The Pictish Trail, is a superb pop number. It features The Pictish Trail's usual collection of bleeps, beeps and vintage drum machines, with Jo's vocals sounding like they're beamed in from another planet almost like, and forgive the comparison but it IS a good one, the radio style vocals you hear in Buggles Video Killed The Radio Star. Trust me on this and while you're at it, admit you love that song too. The lyrics are superb too, documenting the tension the musicians feel between life on the road and wondering if all the hassle is worth it ("Playing to literally tens of people...just to cover my travel home."). Jo goes solo for the fourth track The Sky Exploded, a beautiful, warm ballad which recalls the Icelandic ash cloud and its effects on travel plans in 2010, telling the tale of a a cancelled flight to Spain proving the catalyst for a road trip. The e.p. ends in another duet, this time with Rachel Sermanni, and the track, Bitter Fruit, is a fitting end to an excellent release. Definitely an e.p. you'll want to hear.
Jo Mango & Friends Wrack Lines ep is out today on Olive Grove Records on cd and download via their Bandcamp page. All profits from this release will go to Creative Carbon Scotland and their work to put culture at the heart of a sustainable Scotland.
Olive Grove Bandcamp https://olivegrove.bandcamp.com/album/wrack-lines-2
Jo Mango Facebook https://www.facebook.com/JoMangoOfficial/?fref=ts