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The Jigsaw Seen, Cafe 9, New Haven, CT – 11/12

The Jigsaw Seen unveiled their Christmas CD, Winterland, just in time for the Holiday season and though the tidings were more often sad, still a compelling experience. Hard to believe that the group has been in business since 1989, though still quite considerate of their audience; Café 9 only holds about fifty people, but their sound check took an hour. Their eclectic set was a thumb of the nose at convention, with a sound like Pink Floyd via Television on songs that have Ray Davies’ eye for detail (brother Dave is a fan and added vocals to their new release). “What About Christmas?” longs for the love that will be the most prized gift, while “Christmas Behind Me” yearns for the whole season to be good and gone. It’s a melancholy view of slush and snow that can only be seen by a band from Los Angeles.

The four-piece also performed a lot of last year’s critically acclaimed CD Bananas Foster; Dennis Davison’s impassive features revealed little of the barely controlled angst of “Choreography Killed The Cat” and “Where The Action Isn’t” – two top notch rockers. On psych gem “My Name Is Tom”, Jonathan Lea’s guitar lines insinuated themselves nicely, his playing is always at the behest of the song.

Theirs is an odd scramble of influences, REM, Love, The Zombies, even those Brothers Gibb; but a show filled with witty, catchy songs from a consistently inventive band.

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