Edsel Records [Release date – 17.11.14]
Jesus Jones, for me, were always the acceptable face of electronic music in the ‘90’s. There were others doing similar things at the time, EMF and Pop Will Eat Itself to name but two, but none had the same underlying rock credentials as Jesus Jones to my mind.
What we have here is the band’s four albums remastered and repackaged with the addition of a second disc laden with remixes, promo tracks and ‘B’ sides to please even the most die-hard fan.
Debut album Liquidiser was released in 1989 and met with critical acclaim and found the band in both the single and album charts. The album was an original blend of electronica, rock and techno with a real energy which attracted fans from all genres.
With the singles ‘Info Freak’, ‘Never Enough’ and ‘Bring It On Down’ charting just outside the top forty, remember this was back in the day when the charts still meant something, the band set themselves up nicely for their next release. ***
Sophomore album Doubt was recorded in 1990 but wasn’t released until the following year. The delay, however, had little effect on the album’s success as the band built on their growing fanbase and delivered the biggest hits of their career. Commercially this was the band’s peak and with the three single releases all charting highly in both the UK and the US Jesus Jones were a household name.
‘Right Here, Right Now’ and ‘International Bright Young Thing’ gained major airplay on radio stations on both sides of the Atlantic with ‘Right Here, Right Now’ also being used in TV shows and advertising campaigns. This album was a step on from ‘Liquidiser’ in both quality and content and saw the band winning the ‘best newcomer’ title at the MTV awards. ***1/2
1993 saw the release of the band’s next album Perverse. Whilst ‘Doubt’ had been the band’s biggest commercial success many look on ‘Perverse’ as being their creative peak, myself included.
This was one of the first albums to be recorded digitally as the band embraced the latest technology. Opening track ‘Zeros And Ones’ leaves you in no doubt that the guys mean business on this record with its driving synth pattern, heavy rhythm section and big guitar riffs. This is by far the band’s heaviest outing with even the odd prog influence in the mix on the likes of ‘Yellow Brown’ and ‘Spiral’.
The commercial edge is still evident though with the singles ‘The Devil You Know’, ‘The Right Decision’ and the aforementioned ‘Zeros And Ones’ all charting but in the lower reaches of the chart.
Other songs of note on this album are the infectious ‘Magazine’ and ‘Idiot Stare’ which closes the disc. By now though the band’s popularity was on the wane and it would be a further 4 years until they re-entered the studio. ****
Already was released in 1997 but by that time the fickle world of pop had moved on and only the loyal fans were interested in the release. It was a return to a lighter, more pop oriented sound, perhaps trying to recapture some of the success of ‘Doubt’. It does have its moments, like on the tracks ‘Run On Empty’ and aptly titled ‘For A Moment’, but most tracks whilst enjoyable were ultimately forgettable. ***
These reissues serve as a reminder to the listener of what a creative and talented band Jesus Jones are and how for a brief period in the 1990’s they were main players in the music industry.
The second discs that accompany each release may only be of interest to the most hardened fans, I must admit I won’t be dusting them off too often, but the remasters of the originals are reason enough to rekindle your interest in these ‘International Bright Young Things’!
Review by David Wilson
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Each week David Randall presents ‘New to GRTR!’ on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, with the emphasis on independent artists and labels. During December he replays favourite tracks including power plays featured during the year. This show covers the period January-March and was first broadcast on 1 December 2019.
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