Charlie Jones – Love Form review

Originally published for Notion.

Having worked with the likes of Robert Plant, Page & Plant, Siouxsie Sioux and Goldfrapp, it’s safe to say that Charlie Jones is a much sought after musician, mainly for his bass playing. However, his composing and co-writing on the Robert Plant and Alison Krauss album, Raising Sand, brought about his first Grammy award and appears to have given him the confidence to pursue his own music. His debut album, Love Form, is a perfect example of a record where the music manages to tell a story without having to use any words. In terms of musical creativity, it draws influence from several genres but has a strong jazz feel about it, with Jones’ key influences on the record being drawn from memories of his childhood listening to his father’s jazz and classical records.

The subtleties of the harp and strings, alongside the smooth jazz piano, on album opener ‘The Messenger’ ease you into the record softly before setting off on a journey through time and musical genres; from the cool jazz sounds of the late 1940s to more modern, experimental sounds. Half way through, the record reaches its experimental peak with ‘Phthonos’: a track packed with electronic and futuristic sounds, which is so haunting that it would be fitting as the soundtrack to an alien landing scene in a sci-fi film. ‘Silver’ is probably the softest moment on the record, with the delicacy of the snare and percussion adding an element of calm, but the track still maintains an eeriness that seeps through the whole record. This element of eeriness is prominent on the album’s heavier tracks, like ‘Big Hair’ and ‘Death Hands’, where the drone and guitar distortion really make an impact.

Love Form is a triumph and, although many people may find it difficult to relate to instrumental records, when the music is as powerful and emotive as this, it manages to speak for itself. With an array of well-renowned musicians featuring on the tracks – including Alison Goldfrapp, Portishead and Massive Attack collaborator Johnny Baggot on piano and harpist Ruth Wall, amongst others – it is no surprise that the record is full of depth, diversity and stunning musicianship.

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