2013 (Moshi Moshi)
2013 may not have been a significant year in your life, but for Meilyr Jones, it obviously holds some deep rooted meaning. So much so, he’s chosen that year as the title for his debut solo album.
Maybe there’s some cheeky Taylor Swift riffing, or maybe it has more to do with the demise of Jones’ former band Race Horses that split up in that year. It seems as though 2013 has resonance as a simultaneous death and rebirth of sorts, which is apt considering the overtly life affirming tones of the album.
“How To Recognise A Work Of Art” wastes no time in launching into a beat driven surge of camp baroque pop and Jones’ vocal stylings (style being the key word here) rush effortlessly over the orchestration like a charismatic river of corduroy.
“Don Juan” sees Jones tread firmly into The Smiths territory as the minor toned harpsichord and subtle strings sound like Strangeways-era Morrissey, only with a little less vitriol.
Jones really sets himself apart from the crowd with the hugely affecting “Refugees”. The song is a skeletal piano ballad of immense proportions, during which Jones takes on one of the most emotive contemporary topics around. “Refugees” is a song that, in the wrong hands, could have easily turned into an unbearably saccharine Band Aid reject. Instead, Jones infuses his lyrics with vivid snapshot imagery and tells interweaving stories of minute human moments that, somehow, end up shining a light on humanity itself.
But it’s not exclusively cerebral heart wrenching. Jones has plenty of tongue-in-cheek wit to go around. “Strange Emotional” tells a tale of the pursuit of love to a smooth, swaying tropical beat that gives way to a knowing ‘Smoke On The Water’ inspired riff. It’s an experimental gamble, but it pays off.
The best of Jones’ singular wit is saved for “Featured Artist” where Jones plays the part of a faded star boasting about his past exploits, all the while Jones’ tongue is firmly in his cheek. But the song is shot through with a withering self awareness. It’s as though Jones is being derisive and self effacing at the same time; a balance at which Jones seems adept.
Throughout, 2013 is a rush of ostentatious pop music dripping with the kind of charisma only Jones could deliver.
Pre-order 2013 via Moshi Moshi.