Stephen Jones 1985-2001 (review)
Stephen Jones 1985-2001
In 1995, Britain couldn’t get enough of ‘s dark, scratchy pop songs. Two years and ‘You’re Gorgeous’ later, however, and Stephen Jones was being hounded out of town for his ironic twists and misanthropy. Unsurprisingly – given that he’d already spent many years working away in obscurity – Jones simply returned, undeterred, to the margins; producing 1999′s ‘Bugged’ album, two books, more material which will appear next year, and ’1985-2001′.
A limited 24-track, three-CD set, ’1985-2001′ collects filmic, soundtracky pieces recorded over the last 16 years. For once, this isn’t an excuse for aimless sonic wanking. Jones might dream of creating music for David Lynch, but the majority of these tracks are fully-fledged instrumentals which create their own moods and narratives.
Whether negotiating spare, melancholic piano-led meditations or orchestral flushes, Jones is, as ever, working off the map, torn between his ambition and his budget. More Money Mark than Michael Nyman, the breakbeat-fuelled run of songs from ‘Arthritis Kid’ to ‘Here We Attack’ are irrepressibly cheeky. On the flipside, the squashed, distorted preacher’s voice in ’01800 Jesus’ is genuinely disturbing.
There is the odd, self-consciously cinematic moment, notably “alien birth scene” opener ‘Nevercoming Home’, and certainly this isn’t the best introduction to Stephen Jones. Nonetheless, ’1985-2001′ is another interesting dispatch from the no-frills renaissance man.