‘Jassbusters’ is a band. It’s also a concept album by Connan Mockasin. It’s the first album he’s recorded with a band, but Jassbusters is primarily the name of the band. It’s a make-believe band, made up of make-believe music teachers. This is their album. But also, these make-believe music teachers are entirely aware of Connan Mockasin’s existence, who (in the world of Jassbusters) exists as a character separate from Jassbusters, but (in the real world) is pretending to be Bostyn, the lead singer of Jassbusters. So it’s also the real Connan Mockasin’s album. You see? Simple.
‘Jassbusters’ is also kind of a film score. It accompanies a five-part melodrama motion picture called Bostyn ’n Dobsyn, about fictional music teacher, Bostyn (played by Mockasin), and his student, Dobsyn (played by Mockasin’s childhood next door neighbour).
For this motion picture soundtrack, there’s of course no more natural a starting point for a band of music teachers than a nine-minute psychedelic rock track called ‘Charlotte’s Thong’. Sonically, imagine Mark Knopfler reclining in a comfy chair about to launch into a caustic verse of ‘Sultans of Swing’, and rejig that with a vocal line that sounds like a drowning Chris Isaak gasping for air. Its chorus goes “that’s a thong”. It’s ok.
After this, there are some songs sung by Bostyn (Connan Mockasin) which seem to be about Connan Mockasin. Other songs are sung by Connan Mockasin which seem to be about Bostyn. This goes no way to explain why the first release from a concept album which has nothing to do with Connan Mockasin was called ‘Con Conn Was Impatient’, a song about Connan Mockasin being impatient.
So, a few facts. This is his first album that doesn’t reference dolphins. His press shots, this time, aren’t of himself doused in red paint and holding up an animal skull to his face like a conch. But it’s still aloof, and unconventional seemingly for the sole purpose of being unconventional. Where he makes up for it musically, sultry introductions then kick in, such as “You can do anything to get good grades, anything” or “Mr Bostyn seems to like you, don’t let this one slip else you could be going to military school”.
Of course, the only instruction given is that you shouldn’t listen to ‘Jassbusters’ before watching Bostyn ‘n Dobsyn. You should only listen to it afterwards. They shot the film in a disused hair salon in Los Angeles over two years ago. But also, they’re not releasing it just yet. That comes after the album. So, here’s the review.