Miche Jetté’s unique approach to capturing his songs to tape has always yielded interesting surprises: Find some collaborators. Play the song through for them once, maybe twice. Press record.
When it came time to record the followup to 2005’s Never Took a Wife, he didn’t have to think too hard about who those collaborators would be. Jetté turned once again to his pals in Califone, the Chicago-based group that have churned out a collection of wonderfully imaginative, heavily percussive records over the last ten years or so (and beyond, through the much-loved 1990’s outfit Red Red Meat). Califone use a variety of stringed things and unrecognizable noisemakers to paint vivid, filmic landscapes that serve as a perfect backdrop for Flecton Big Sky’s lyrical brushstrokes.
The Bright Side of Dying is Flecton Big Sky’s masterpiece, a focused effort that is quite comfortable in its shoes, thank you very much. Never Took a Wife got the ya-ya’s out, but The Bright Side is happy to just let it bleed.
Out of the gates, we are immersed in the loving gaze of “She’s Out of Sight”: a touching song resigned to see the glass half-full, made even more tender with the swoon of mariachi horns. “Cowboys & Indians” imagines Flecton’s end days, with a relaxed delivery that one can only have when they’re comfortable with the idea. A banjo-fied campfire round comes to life on “Strummed Out,” probably the biggest deviation from Jetté’s back catalogue. Heck, our Flecton even takes a crack at Merle Haggard’s “Workin’ Man Blues,” a beaten-down version complete with anvil sounds. You can almost smell the steam train’s exhaust.
The Bright Side of Dying shows the dark side too, but this journey is one that’ll leave you feeling sunnier than you started, I do guarantee.