Jonquil - One Hundred Suns EP
Record Label: Dovecote Records
Release Date: Nov. 16, 2010
Jonquil are an Oxford, UK rock trio that dabbles in math rock and folk pop in a manner that's self described as "Paul Simon's take on The Smiths."
How is it?
Pretty damn good.
Whether you choose to accept it or not, there's a corner in your brain and crevice in your heart that wants to love Jonquil. Their intricate, highly nuanced blend of gnomic indie-pop is effervescent, timeless and utterly resplendent. Like a brainier version of Vampire Weekend, the four bucks that make up Jonquil are confident, carefree and wholly captivating. Lead single "Get Up," is fizzy, sun-drenched and deceptively sneaky. On its first few listens the song is mildly underwhelming, not so much for its rhythm or its swerve, but mostly for vocalist Hugo Manuel's penchant for warbled mumbling. As if he has a mouth full of marbles, his utterances and verses can often be repressed, foggy and downright alienating. But sure enough a few more listens and the song swims into the bloodstream.
The synth-fueled "Fighting Smiles," is one of the EP's true peaks, a falsetto-laden affair with swirling guitars, intimate drumming and a sweetly affecting chorus as strong as any released this year. On the contrary to "Get Up," Manuel's vocals are crystalline, controlled and on the mark. In short, it's as close to perfect as anything on the EP. It's not all hyperbole though. "It Never Rains," and "Pillow Quest," are a muddled mess of a middle section and were it not for the dynamic "Compound," the gorgeous "I Don't Know I Know," and the accordion-laced "Lions," this EP probably wouldn't be worth much more than "Fighting Smiles," and "Get Up." Thankfully that's not the case and this is an EP worth revisiting.
While the trio leans decidedly towards Afro-pop, they aren't exactly Vampire Weekend 2.0. More importantly, they're all quite young (all members are in their early 20s) and are just now hitting their stride. That very fact means the future is decidedly bright and the music world can certainly rejoice for Jonquil's future releases. Even you, dear reader, even you.
Such a great band/EP. Definitely loving their new sound. Good review too, although I personally disagree with "It Never Rains" and "Pillow Quest" being a "muddled mess of a middle section." I find them to be pretty fantastic songs.