After their bands split, the two were ready to turn their backs on the mainstream industry for good. Edinburgh-born Gordon took some time off to go travelling with his acoustic guitar, eventually endingup honing new songs in the open mic scene of the East Village, NYC. Brighton boy Ben considered giving up music entirely and returning to snowboarding, which had been his life before becomng a pro musician; instead, he took up the offer of a free place on a music production technique course. And it was in the tatty seaside town that the two met, and Lucky Jim came about.
Within a few days of choosing Brighton as his first stop-off on his return to the UK, Gordon booked a slot at the legendary (now defunct) Lift Club. After one drummer dropped out, on a recommendation he approached Ben. Unphased by this, and despite the fact that he hadn't played drums for 2 years, Ben agreed to do the gig. On the night, the vibe was good enough that they decided straight away to record together; within just a few months the album "Our Troubles End Tonight" was complete.
The ease of working on this album shows. It has an effortless feel - all the past struggles and time spent learning their craft have payed off for Gordon and Ben, and they have quite simply produced an album of glorious songs, beautifully arranged and produced.
It's all about the songs. The production uses tricks both classic and modern, but they are never there for their own sake - only to create big spaces for the heart-stopping chord structures and melodies to soar. This is emotional power as potent as any number of Marshall stacks whacked up to 11, and it's totally unaffected. These are straightforward songs about the basic things like love, loss, longing and living, with all the emotional complexity those things imply.
The music is full of hints of classic precedents - you may hear echoes of Neil Young, Lee Hazlewood, Nick Cave, Van Morrison, Serge Gainsbourg, Arthur Lee, Leonard Cohen, Brian Wilson, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, Ewan MacColl, Phil Spector and many others - but it is all done in such individual and modern style that the songs are far more than the sum of their influences.
There are intimations of the more organic side of Air, Lemon Jelly, and others on the more musically sophisticated side of 'chill out' music, but this is not generic comedown fodder - the emotional pallette of the lyrics and arrangements is too rich for that. Neither is this generic indie-shmindie, nu-country mierablism or self-defeating brit drabness. This is an album of strength and celebration, of songs that glory equally in the light and dark parts of life's rich tapestry. ItÎs a record to lean on when things go wrong, and to revel in when things go right. There's no point resisting - let yourself go to Lucky Jim.