Old Man Winter is relentless in returning every year, bringing with him frigid temperatures, frozen lakes and gray, leaf-less trees. The first creaking and sawing harmonica of “I Stole the Cutty Sark” sounds like a reluctant, untrained orchestra warming up, contrary to the vintage confidence exuded by Jack Hayter going into Sucky Tart. Despite it’s twangy appearances, it is a warming song of a man seeking the heart of a woman by “going down to Greenwich” and using the Cutty Sark clipper to her house “to impress you somehow.” Throughout, the harmonica with its wonderful seaside melody accompanies Jack like a loyal ordinary seaman.
“A Doll’s House” takes Crooked Fingers, and leaves barren floorboards, dust and a sole chair. It drifts, sometimes needing support and focus, in a despair contrary to the first song in a pure, downward introspective spiral. “Jacquie I Won’t Mind”, with a guitar that seems like a withered oak serenaded by a hopeless violin belay wonderful lyrics. The strange, atmospheric whirls surround the listener, attempting to pull your ears away the more you focus. But that’s the charm of Sucky Tart, as the scrim of music befitting a seasonal depression opens, Jack’s lyrics of thoughtful and selfless devotion are unveiled, causing lights to warm to a snow-melting gleam the more you concentrate.