There are few bands that can boast of an original lineup three decades since their inception. In 2018, UK alt-rockers Jesus Jones are one such act, comprised as they are of their original personnel - vocalist/guitarist Mike Edwards; keyboardist Iain Baker; guitarist Jerry De Borg; bassist Al Doughty and drummer Gen. Seemingly to celebrate their 30th year in existence, the band's back catalogue is being released during 2018, complete with rarities and bonus tracks. However, surely of greater delight to the JJ fan is the fact they've eventually delivered a brand new, full length work of original material; their first since 2001's 'London', which follows EP releases in 2014 and 2016.
Press blurb reveals that the genesis of 'Passages' spans several years, over which time, "ideas have been honed, perfected, binned and regenerated along the way." So, Jesus Jones have been in no mad rush to get new material out there and there'd be no excuses if this was pap. Expectedly, then, pap this is not. Pop this is also not. Adhering to what they know best, we have ten cuts of alt-rock splendour that hark back to their heyday, while simultaneously feeling like it's of the here and now, too. Guitars, bass and drums are infused with keys-driven electronica, and Edwards' still great voice. It all works a treat.
Buoyant, lively tunes are plentiful throughout the album, such as 'Where Are All the Dreams', 'Suck it Up', and 'How's This Even Going Down', mixed up with some musically pensive pieces, like 'So Welcome' and 'One Day at a Time'. However, buoyant or pensive, there are some very strong melodies to be heard in each of the songs which are, generally, great compositions that've been very nicely arranged through their instrumentations, lyrical phrasing and vocal harmonies. Add to that a fantastic, clear production and great mix and mastering job, and Jesus Jones have a new album on their hands that more than proves their worth in the contemporary music scene (not that, I'm guessing, they feel they have anything to prove, as such).
Edwards sings a repeated lyric on the opening track, "I feel like the best is behind us". Whether that's autobiographical or not, based on 'Passages', it seems like Jesus Jones' best might very well be ahead of them. 'Passages' is a surprisingly great listen.
Absolute Label Services
Review by Mark Holmes
20th April 2018
1) Where Are All the Dreams
2) Suck It Up
5) Rounding Out the Square Holes
6) How's This Even Going Down
7) So Welcome
9) One Day at a Time
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"...Jesus Jones have a new album on their hands that more than proves their worth in the contemporary music scene..."