The Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project – The Task Has Overwhelmed Us (Glitterhouse Records)

An eighteen track compilation celebrating the work of the acclaimed and highly influential American songwriter/singer/guitarist Jeffrey Lee Pierce; and it’s a tour de force of some of the finest independent performers of our time. Depeche Modes’ Dave Gahan has the honour of opening the album with a hauntingly beautiful Mother of Earth. A faultless and moving interpretation that deserves multiple repeat plays. 

The Coathangers take on La La Los Angeles livens things up with a deadpan vocal delivery that sits nicely over the top of the 5678’s style garage Rock n Roll. The man himself delivers a  suave and restrained Yellow Eyes, full of bluesy swagger, a timely reminder of JLP’s understated songwriting genius. The much missed Mark Lanegan (featuring Nick Cave, Warren Ellis and Cypress Grove) puts in a superlative and oddly prophetic Go Tell The Mountain; one of the strongest tracks on an album that features no duds. Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind deliver a rousing and energetic take on Going Down The Red River; while Suzie Stapleton’s superb vocal performance on Secret Fires provides the counterpoint – a subtle, heartfelt piece of folk that confirms Stapleton’s rising reputation as one of the leading lights in modern folk/rock. 

On The Other Side is another treat, bringing together two of our generation’s greats – Debbie Harry and Nick Cave – an unexpected but perfect pairing with Debbie Harry putting in one of the best vocal performances of her career. Given JLP’s admiration for Harry, I’m sure he would have been ecstatic with this homage. Cypress Grove immerse you in the feeling of a heroin hazed liaison with ease, on an eerie, unsettling, quite brilliant interpretation of Idiot Waltz that perfectly captures the spirit of Pierce. Sendelica wraps up the album with a bolshy, electronic, belter of a take on The Gun Club’s Bad America rapping the lyrics with strident attack. Beautifully packaged with a stunning cover shot by Anton Corbijn. If only all compilations were this good. Ian Pickens 

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