Jonquil – Point Of Go – 2012
Although released in the still chilly month of March, Jonquil’s newest offering, Point Of Go has the feel of music best suited to hot summer days spent sipping cold drinks in the sun. It is a pop album rich in instrumental flavour that hints at Erasure stylized electronic harmonies, but has unmistakably English-folk sentiment, much like The Housemartins.
The opening song “Swells” is instantaneously infectious and showcases singer Hugo Manuel’s beautiful singing voice backed by smartly plucked guitar chords, lush synthesizers, and a flourish of light trumpeting. For an album opener, it’s a powerhouse and defies any first-time listener not to repeat it several times over before exploring the rest of the record.
The bright optimism of “It’s My Part” carries on what “Swells” started as Manuel declares “it’s my part and I’ll play it how I want” as the light “shines on me and it feels like the sun”. With the swift tempo of the plucking guitars, drumming and cowbell accompaniment throughout, it’s the perfect song to walk along, chin up, and a spring in your step.
The title-tracks of the album are interestingly split into back-to-back “Part 1” and “Part 2” versions. “Part 1” is a simple, cool, atmospheric guitar song that introduces slowly building keys before transcending into “Part 2”, which blossoms into a full instrumentation and stays true to the album’s thematic warmth when Manuel sings “running to the light, I see it shine. Does it show that I’m away?” before ending in a beautiful musical soundscape.
The albums standout track “Run” is a near-perfect pop song. Memorable from the moment it starts, the band keeps the tempo moving and doesn’t fail where so many Indie artists do by overcomplicating the composition with a mess of sound. It’s clean, simple and ends when it should. Be your own judge and watch the accompanying video.
If there is one song on “Point Of Go” that encapsulates the feelings of summer described throughout this review, it’s “Mexico”. It has a strangely Calypso vibe to it that still manages to remain completely cohesive with the rest of the songs on the record and highlights some of the best of Manuel’s vocal range.
The final track “Psammeaed” ends this exceptional album off perfectly. An instrumental piece, it’s a dreamy closer you’d expect to hear while basking in paradise watching the sun set or relaxing with a tropical drink at a Hawaiian luau. With the release of Point Of Go, Jonquil has succeeded in creating an excellent start-to-finish album that will see plenty of play in this reviewer’s summer playlist.