Barry Snaith is the man behind Inconsistent Jukebox – a truly apt name for this solo act from the UK which is keen on expanding its sound through collaborations. The spectrum of genres tackled by Inconsistent Jukebox is thus apparently limitless, ranging from lounge music to post-rock, and even tackling tunes for kids somewhere in between. Although we would not deem that inconsistence so much as a compulsion to experiment. And that’s certainly a welcome outlook, in this era where audiences are generally served pre-formatted, cut-out genres and pretty much told to like them.
Inconsistent Jukebox’s most recent offering, Let’s defenestrate, is the soundtrack to an imaginary film.
Now, when music and cinema mingle for the better, the union usually results in unforgettable atmospheres. Inspired by cult character Philip Marlowe, the unflappable private investigator immortalized by one Humphrey Bogart on screen, Let’s defenestrate indeed succeeds in recreating the peculiar ambiance which permeates film noir: a sort of dangerous and dark languidness where the hero’s every instinct tells him he had better stay hyper aware – all in vain. This conceptual track has a persuasive, hypnotic quality to it right from the offset, with the wailing urban sirens from the intro commanding attention. Once that's done, the sirens fade, to be superseded by a mellow loop, the draw of which is hard to resist as it spirals downward. It’s as though the listener is slowly but inexorably being lulled into a nightmare they might not necessarily want to wake up from. The vocals swing from a humane whisper which seems perturbingly close to one’s ear one second, to a far away, disembodied drone the next, showing a mastery of space within sound.
Surely turning something as appalling as defenestration into a practically appealing thing to do requires a good dose of talent, and Inconsistent Jukebox clearly has that in abundance - although let’s take a second here to clarify that defenestration, whenever not fictional, is always, always a terrible idea!
But isn’t that one of music’s fundamental roles, really? To allow us to explore and live out the thrills of our most far-fetched notions, all through our comfortably-cushioned headphones?