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  • Writer's pictureGloria Tang

Stephen Jacques New Track 'Symphony of Freaks'

Stephen Jacques’ single, “Symphony of Freaks,” jumps out quickly with lively drumming and tasty electric guitar. It’s a music story, for lack of a better category, which finds Jacques announcing, “I moved to Texas/Fell in love with you.” Of course, singing about falling in love also makes this a love song, of sorts. Along the way, Jacques also mentions trying out Nashville, too, which is another major music town. The track incorporates driving acoustic guitar, as well as sweet fiddling. This fiddling sounds both sad and happy at the same time, the way fiddling often does. Even though the track is upbeat, there’s a touch of melancholy in the fiddle part. But, make no mistake, it’s by no means a sad tune.

Listen to 'Symphony of Freaks' here:

Vocally, Jacques sings it with a breathy, passionate voice. It’s as though he’s super excited to tell us, his listeners, all about his adventures. Eventually, he admits, “Music is my destiny.” When he refers to ‘Symphony of Freaks,’ he’s most likely singing about people like himself. It oftentimes takes a kind of freak to pursue music with such reckless abandon. These ‘symphonies’ are almost certainly the musical creations from these various troubadour freaks.

With its lonesome fiddle and country-esque electric guitar, you may want to call this a country song, or a country-rock song, at least. However, a great deal of country music is taken at a slow, as well as a dry humored vocal approach. Country artists many times just don’t get too very wound up. It’s almost as though these Southerners are putting their Southern drawl into their singing. In contrast, Jacques sounds closer to a smooth rocker. Not a raspy AC/DC voice, mind you, but maybe more like early rockers, such as Johnny Rivers.

The song is only 2:41 long, so it’s a short blast of enjoyable sound. It’s also extremely pleasurable. Saying something is energetic, is not always a good barometer of musical quality. There are, without a doubt, plenty of speedy, but bad, songs. This song is an exception because Jacques’ explosive performance of it is one of its primary selling points. You get the feeling this was recorded in just a few takes. Not that it has a poor, rushed quality to it, but because a song like this one, if performed too much in the studio, would eventually lose some of its initial charm. One pictures Jacques asking his musical companions to lay it down well and quickly, before the performance inspiration disappears.

There’s just something special about largely acoustic instrumentation applied to rocking music. It brings back fond memories of the Waterboys, back when that band was exploring its Irish roots. The group was a Big Music rock band that fell in love with Celtic sounds. Rather than tamp it down to traditional beats, the act just adapted these wonderful ethnic sounds to their already established large sound. Of course, having spent time in Nashville, one assumes Jacques has a little (if not a lot) of that Nashville stuff already in him. Nevertheless, he’s found a sonic formula that puts his music in the best possible light. An album of 12-15 songs much like this one, would be a true treat. For now, it’s simply a really fine single.


-Dan MacIntosh


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