Memorial Ten Count, whose name derives from the fabled toll that nods to the death of a champion boxer, is the impassioned new album by Sackville, NB’s Jon McKiel. Across ten songs the mood shifts with deft precision, reminding the listener that a good fight consists of equal parts blister-forming-grit and punch-drunk wistfulness. But what, exactly, is worth fighting for?
Recorded in the nether regions of Nova Scotia with analogue guru Jay Crocker (Joyfultalk, No More Shapes, Ghostkeeper), the album’s sound is warm and worked-in. The raw performances, caught straight to tape, showcase McKiel at his most rugged and versatile, recalling in turn the anthemic restlessness of early Kurt Vile and the delicate thought-play of Chris Cohen, with intricate guitar playing that evokes the expansive jams of Television. Regardless of its mood, the alluring lyricism and in-the-pocket playing makes the blues-inflected Memorial Ten Count a testament to deep chemistry.