Have you heard of Kelvin Jones? You should have. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter from Stevenage has been turning a few heads as of lately, going from busking, to selling out venues on the European mainland, touring with James Morrison, and winning ‘Best Newcomer’ at the British Urban Music Awards in 2015. This, his debut album, is filled with love, heartbreak and emotion.
The album kicks off with ‘Call You Home’, which has been released as a single. It’s pure pop, but not in a manufactured, sanitised way. This is packed with emotion and feeling, from the sensitive singing, to the bold piano, to the video for which a TV was sent into space, earning the video a few nominations for ‘Best Video’ awards. I love it. It’s sweet, it’s light, and it sounds like a hit to me, perfectly structured round Jones’ excellent vocals.
The follow-up is ‘As You Wake Up’, which is, sadly, my least favourite song on the album. It’s too safe, too reliant on things we’ve already heard before from artists similar to Jones. While it’s certainly not offensively bad, the lyrics being nice enough to carry it, it can’t measure up to ‘Call You Home’. It’s a good thing that the eponymous title track comes in to raise the standards again. ‘Stop the Moment’ is a great pop song about being carefree and happy, but being unable to hold onto those feelings forever. The piano and electronic claps are extremely effective here, along with Jones’s excellent vocals.
‘Closer’ comes next, and is fantastic. Beginning with some excellent guitar and Jones claiming that “Late night calls // are all we are”, it soon segways into piano and Jones declaring that “We could be a little closer // if you wanted to” . The soul-style backing vocals behind Jones in the chorus are great, and this sounds like a Summer hit to me.
After the morose and mournful ‘Even Now’ comes the contrasting ‘Good Together’ which is bouncy and cheery, in a strange case of opposing tones. If ‘Even Now’ is Adele, ‘Good Together’ is Taylor Swift, at least in tone.
‘Follow You Down’ freshens things up a bit, with Jones isolated on vocals, bar his piano. It’s another love song, as you can tell from the lyric “They say I’m always lost in your eyes // It’s your heart that breaks me down”. It’s like if Nick Cave circa 2001 was a little more cheerful and less fixated on religious imagery. It’s a nice little song that really lifts the album for me. ‘In Your Place’ follows it, with plucked guitar swimming under Jones’ isolated and tender vocals. Two more great songs here.
However, the next three tracks don’t really advance on the gains made by the previous songs. ‘No More Lies’ is good, with Jones sadly recounting how he has been wronged by someone who “told me I was perfect”. The chorus of voices behind Jones singing “No more love // no more lies” sound great, but the electric guitar, while flashy enough, is out of place and shoehorned in. ‘Track 19’ is a ‘meh’ song. The lyrics aren’t great (“I’m tired of working for the man” is not a line you want to hear in any song ever) and it’s just another guitar strum-along. Again, not a bad song, just ordinary. It gets harsh treatment from me because some songs on this album are fantastic, so I kind of feel let down by the more ‘meh’ ones. ‘We Are More’ is an improvement, with the guitar more lively and the lyrics improving. Jones also sounds a lot more confident in his vocal delivery here, plus the backing vocals are used to great effect again, underlining the great studio production here.
‘I Wouldn’t Change You’ suitably closes the album as it started. Strummed guitar, backing vocals and great vocals from Jones. This is a good album. Not great, but good. The first side is grea, but in the second side the album begins to peter out as it approaches the finishing line. There are, however, some grat songs here from an artist with plenty of potential.
Words by G. Rutherford