In founding Swell Maps, the post-punk prefacing Birmingham art-snots, Nikki Sudden and his drumming brother Epic Soundtracks charted new territory for racket and corrosive guitar. But after folding Swell Maps at the dawn of the ’80s, Nikki Sudden plowed through another decade’s worth of terrifically fertile ground. Drawing on his devotion to the Rolling Stones and T. Rex—alongside guitarist Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, plus a cheekily named cohort of British sidemen—Nikki Sudden cut a string of raw, inspired rock ‘n’ roll records, etched with double edged travel melancholia and hard-bitten punk dejection.
Dual guitars announce “Big Store” and 1984’s Jacobites, originally on Glass Records, the first official appearance of Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth under that imprimatur—and its direct allusion to British royal lineage of yesteryear. The matching LP trafficked in dramatic rock classicism: vital, shambolic, anchored by acoustic strumming and a healthy obsession with plaintive Dylan phrasings. Songwriting swung hard at Stewart/Wood tropes, while Sudden & Kusworth took grim new looks at the same hills Mick and Keith had long since rolled past.