Thursday, 11 August 2011

Jono McCleery - There Is (Counter Records)

We first fell in love with Jono McCleery earlier last year when we received his debut single for Counter Records, 'Tomorrow'.  How this heir to the thrones of Nick Drake and John Martyn had escaped us before we don't know.

His first, self produced album, Darkest Light was a crowd funding success story with BBC Radio djs Fiona Talkington and Tom Robinson as well as folk star Vashti Bunyan chipping in to make it a reality. Their foresight and Jono's obvious talents then saw him come to the attention of bigger labels (this album is out with Counter Records, Ninja Tune's guitar orientated sister label) as well as opening up touring possibilities with the likes of Portico Quartet, Little Dragon, Gil Scott Heron, Bonobo and others. He was slowly heading in the right direction.

His latest album, There Is (released September 5th), is more of team effort with Fybe taking care of the buttons and Matt Kelly coming through with some beautiful arrangements. Together they've created a really classy album not to mention one of this years best cover versions with an altogether darker and twisted version of Black's, now slightly dated (or Balearic classic depending on your point of view), 'Wonderful Life'.

It's a tough call but I guess the epic 7 minute, slowly building joys of 'Tomorrow' is perhaps our favourite track but every track on the album is a winner. You've got the sparse, mournful delights of 'She Move's', the schizophrenic change of pace and drama of 'Garden' (look out for an incredible remix of this by Seiji - easily his most interesting remix of the year) and the slightly mumbled but driving insistence of 'Home'. We could go on.

Just take our word when we tell you this is a great album and one of the singer songwriter albums of the year. Jono's vocals come straight from where they should and have a sincerity lacking in most modern songwriters. The production is faultless with Fybe's subtle electronics gently caressing Jono's voice and accentuating his simple but effective guitar. Matt Kelly's impeccable string arrangements add even more tension, drama and emotion in all the right places and are the icing on an already quality album. Go get it, you'll like it..

Check out his cover version of Black's 'Wonderful Life'
Jono McCleery - 'Wonderful Life' / 'Garden' mix sampler (Counter Records) by Ninja Tune

You can swap your email address for the 'Garden' track by heading over to this link at the Counter records website.

Here's a simple little video to accompany the radio edit of 'Tomorrow'

Jono McCleery Website
Counter Records Website