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Jack Hayter

Jack Hayter's voice has ghosts. Whether they were birthed there in the hollows of his words and songs under the influence of nostalgia, drink and hard times or they seeped in with the brittle clarity of the cold night air, no one can say. But they're there. And you can hear them. Following a few years in a group ahead of the curve (the critically acclaimed but otherwise unknown Spongefinger), Jack spends much of his time playing pedal steel, guitar and other instruments for London pop phenomenons Hefner (Too Pure). In fact, it was the prodding of Hefner frontman Darren Hayman that got Jack into the studio (well, a make-shift studio anyway - you can hear the refrigerator in the background of one song) to record his own songs. Darren sat at the boards and, along with the other members of Hefner, played here and there on the album. Practical Wireless is undoubtedly Jack though. His is an incredible voice, both wistful and weathered, crackling with a warm intensity, and he has the pen to match. Jack's songs have a smoky, homespun feel about them, the kind of music that's incredibly intimate without being directly revealing. Witness the album's opener "Blind Man's Fog": "She's got eyes like piss holes in the snow / could melt right through you." This is a record that doesn't present itself to your lap or waiting hands, but walks quietly beside you, leaning softly on your shoulder, gently clasping your unsuspecting hand. Thoroughly unpretentious for a folk record, as delicate as they come for a rock record, and immediately familiar to any man, woman or child with warm blood in his veins. The album also includes a fantastic, understated, slow and misty version of the Only One's classic "Another Girl, Another Planet."