Jesse Lee Smith is a fellow that hails from the Atlanta rock’n’roll scene that gave us many interesting garage rock bands in the past few years. One of the bands that started it all was the Ramones influenced quintet The Carbonas and Jesse played bass in it. He had a somewhat more complex vision on what his music should be, so he started a solo career with a rotating line up of musicians simply referred to as “his men”.
His vision was first widely exposed on an excellent solo debut album from 2008 and now we have a sequel on the second album called Leaving Atlanta. The musical spectrum Jesse took on his solo albums is decidedly power pop oriented, but also informed with the English pub rock scene and Stiff records. Indeed, the cover art of the first album is a clear nod to Elvis Costello and his Last Year’s Model.
The new album doesn’t bring much new, which in this case is a very good thing. Leaving Atlanta is a collection of extremely catchy tunes on love, loneliness and going out and partying, just like the first record. Both albums remind me a lot on the 1980 Stiff records classic Where Are All The Nice Girls by Any Trouble.
The musicianship is heavily based on the jangling Rickenbacker guitar sound and perhaps one could argue that the digital version of the album (CD or mp3) is mixed a bit too much in mid and high frequencies. But, perhaps the Jesse wanted to have a nice sound on the vinyl, which is definitely achieved. The old plastic version of the record plays great and it sounds like something recorded in 1979. On Stiff I might add once more!
First published on rockxs.com.