Sunday, February 26, 2012

Jonquil - Point of Go (2012)

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When British indie-pop foursome Jonquil released their first single "It's My Part" earlier this year, it hinted at a more mainstream sound that was somewhat at odds with the overall aesthetic of their previous works. It lifted layers of dreamy haze and replaced them with catchy pop hooks. Point of Go, for me, took on a more metaphorical significance. Could Jonquil become more accessible without losing any of their creativeness (a la Maps & Atlases) or would that accessibility create a sort of staleness?

One of the first things I noticed on Point of Go is the drums. Particularly they follow a similar pattern in the majority of the album's upbeat romps - tap, tap, tap. It's all a bit repetitive. Sure they slip in trumpets ("Real Cold") and other such ornaments but really, what's the good of dressing up something nicely if the interior is in disrepair? It's hard to argue if more inventive percussion would have led to a more well-rounded album, but a case could certainly be made for it. Besides the pretty predictable drums patterns, Jonquil mainlines its sound into something still worthy of listening. There's definite standouts sure - "Getaway" and "It's My Part" are leaps and bounds better than the rest of the album's other tracks - but the other tracks still contain some interesting parts.

Point of Go plays very much like a vacation album with it's sumptuous tropical beats, summery vibes, and brightness in sound; it could very well soundtrack an excursion. And while pretty enjoyable, after listening to One Hundred Suns, you can't help feeling like Jonquil's next outing should have been a bit...better.  One Hundred Suns moved as a cohesive whole with each track building moment after intriguing moment, Point of Go however is a series of crests and troughs - what works really works and what doesn't is glaring obvious. That said, Jonquil still manages to deliver an album better than your average garden variety indie-pop; it's just not necessarily their personal best.

Hear for yourself: Jonquil's Point of Go is on Spotify.
Get a little taste of what to expect, with arguably the album's best track "It's My Part":

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