In its twelve-year career, Jackie-O Motherfucker has pushed boundaries at every turn. Multi-instrumentalist Tom Greenwood and saxophonist Nester Bucket formed the group in 1994 as a duo, but they have since embraced the collective model; the band now has a rotating cast of more than twenty members. Understandably, that’s pushed the band to explore a diverse sonic palette. Jackie-O Motherfucker has most notably explored elements of free jazz, drone, noise, found sound, and post-rock (peaking with 1999’s Fig. 5), but Flags of the Sacred Harp matches vocal-based gospel and folk with the band’s standard of textured experimentation.
The presence of gospel music isn’t entirely new to the band’s sound, but Flags of the Sacred Harp takes Jackie-O Motherfucker’s appreciation of American folk to a new level. From opener “Nice One” to the murkier depths of “The Louder Roared the Sea,” the record embraces vocal-based experimentation that is timeless and modern. Although it drags on at times, the record is a rewarding listen with enormous breadth. By engaging such highly spiritual material, Flags of the Sacred Harp recalls a time when Americans wrote meaningful songs without worrying about finding the right gimmick or catching a wave of hype.
Jackie-O Motherfucker on ATP’s Web site