I’m not sure what the current status of The Jigsaw Seen is; I haven’t seen any official announcement signaling their end (which likely came about some years ago). But I know that their 2014 album Old Man Reverb and their 2017 set For the Discriminating Completist are both excellent records. (They did a great single with Terry Reid some years ago as well.) I also know that Dennis Davison is the songwriter who deserves the main credit for the quality of their songs. His 2020 debut solo album, The Book of Strongman built upon the strengths of The Jigsaw seen, and took the music in some directions that band didn’t explore.
Now he returns with Creaturefeature, a five-song EP. “Creatures of Love” effectively combines a Byrds/Buffalo Springfield character, some garage-psych textures and a cinematic feel; it all adds up to an alluring and timeless song. His concise songcraft shines on “The Greatest Moment in History,” a snaky, spooky and slightly sinister cut with an excellent arrangement full of subtleties that reveal themselves on (well-earned) repeat listens.
The hurdy-gurdy charatcer of “The Guise of Comedy” recalls the bridge of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” and the song’s tone is reminiscent of Arthur Lee’s Love at its most ambitious. The EP’s most radio-ready moments come during “The Monuments,” with a chiming melody, wide-screen vibe, windswept harmonica and a dreamy bass line.
The set concludes with “Reconstruction,” easily the oddest cut on the EP. Opening with chanted vocals, the song unfolds to reveal an eerie melody and a spare arrangement. A production tour-de-force, “Reconstruction” sounds like it belongs on the soundtrack of a gothic horror film. Subtle touches like Mellotron flutes and single-not strings adorn the icy, slightly foreboding track. It’s a strange way to end a brief collection of songs, but it does leave the listener intrigued and wanting more. And that’s likely one of the goals of an EP release. Here’s looking forward to what comes next from Davison.