Jonquil - Point Of Go

This is a good start but you get the feeling Jonquil need to add a bit more bite into their new pop noise.

Label: Blessingforce

Rating: 6

Since the release of their last album, 2008’s ‘Lions’, Jonquil have lost three members (who have subsequently gone on to form Trophy Wife) and gained one. Which, by my maths, means that they’re now at four.

The newly formed quartet have created ‘Point Of Go’. The result is, whether forced or by choice, a reinvention of the Jonquil sound. The band have talked about “thinking about catchy chords … while still keeping our character” and that has translated into more accessible, more immediate pop songs. ‘Point Of Go’ is both sharper and sunnier than its predecessors, though it has also seen the band lose some of their earlier ethereal charm.

Where there was once a washed out, DIY sound there is now smooth, cleaner (sometimes too clean) songs with twinkling synths and gleaming guitar lines. The album is filled with shimmeringly spotless chords and stick-in-the-head melodies.

This can be explained by the line-up change but also by a change in location. On ‘Point Of Go’ they were recording in bedrooms and makeshift studios. This was made in a farmhouse studio. It’s given more color and pomp to their sound.

There are bits of Fleetwood Mac in there and at its best it sounds like Phoenix, Friendly Fires and Foals. The title track, split into two parts. has a feel of Foals as well as the soft lilting funk of The Whitest Boy Alive and, as it reaches its crescendo in ‘Pt. 2’, the harmonies are sublime.

Tracks like ‘It’s My Part’ and ‘Mexico’ have more than a hint of Friendly Fires and Vampire Weekend. You could easily imagine them soundtracking a few parties and the sipping of a pear cider this summer with their sunshine riffs and falsetto vocals.

However, the rhythms and riffs of ‘Run’ and ‘Getaway’ are too clean-cut, the vocals too lacking in character and by the end of the record the you have the feeling you’ve heard a lot of this done before, and done better.

So what we have in many respects is a ‘new’ band, one trying to forge a new sound for themselves. This is a good start but, after losing half of their line up, you get the feeling Jonquil need to add a bit more character, and a bit more bite, into their new pop noise.