Rock, July 2019

hfnalbum.pngHoward Jones

Although he's never really been away, this album suggests that Howard Jones is looking to restore the kind of profile he had way back at the height of his career in the '80s. A chance encounter with contemporary electronica musician and producer Brian Wayne Transeau, aka BT, has resulted in several collaborative efforts which retain the classic Jones synth-pop sounds but pull them into the 21st century. BT has previously collaborated with Peter Gabriel, Depeche Mode, Madonna and others, and his presence on this album seems to be particularly fitting. Given the current interest in retro-electronica, energetic tracks like 'Transform' and 'At The Speed Of Love' could see a major resurgence in Jones' career trajectory. JBk


One Little Indian TPLP1463CDR

Tusks is another of those plural names hiding one artist. In this case, it's London-based songwriter/producer Emily Underhill. Although this is only her second full-length album, she's been releasing tracks for several years. She gets compared with experimental pioneers Explosions In The Sky and Sigur Ros, and words like 'panoramic' and 'glacial' seem to crop up regularly in reviews. She doesn't go out of her way to make her tracks instantly catchy, but for anyone who sticks around long enough to listen a little longer, she can quickly become an obsession, because her languid voice and her layered aural textures do eventually worm their way into the brain. JBk


Crazy P
Age Of The Ego
!K7 WDWLP005

After eight albums, Crazy P are still managing to push back the frontiers of contemporary dance music while always remaining listenable. This album will sound instantly familiar to long-time fans of the band, but lyrically they're diving into political waters with several cuts clearly referencing the media manipulation that has typified our seemingly endless Brexit negotiations. Although always firmly rooted in electronic territory, the tracks move easily through styles including soul, funk and Hi-NRG, with vocalist Danielle Moore's luscious voice usually front and centre. If this lot don't start notching up hits very soon, there's no justice. JBk


Jamie Freeman
Dreams About Falling
Union Music UML014

Freeman is a straight down the middle pop-rock guitar-oriented singer-songwriter, and an exceptionally good one at that. This is the fourth album under his own name, and it continues the classic Americana vibes of previous releases that have seen his output hailed as 'a perfect blend of UK folk/American roots'. What makes him special, apart from the sturdy craftsmanship of his melodic hooks and his perceptive lyrics, is that he occasionally introduces unexpected elements of psychedelia, traditional folk and electronica which make him well worth paying attention to. Working in an overcrowded field he's head and shoulders above most of the competition. JBk