Jonas Shandel - Jonas Shandel

by Nathan Fidler Rating:7.5 Release Date:2010-09-20

Songs of love, loss and redemption have been done to death so if you're planning to undertake an album of such songs then you had better make them good. Jonas Shandel manages it. Just. The key is the intricate memories, the specificity of the lyrics which allows you to think of your own situations and relate to his.


"Found a sculpture made from clay, like a scene from the early days, that reminded me of you" is such a beautiful and concise opening that it sets the tone of the entire album; he's hurt but he's ok. It's a simple formula helped along by the roots and folk feel. Harmonicas, lapsteels and pedalsteels are all trotted out with understated success and power the moments of pause between Jonas' world weary voice. 'Rolling Like a Stone' takes the popular old phrase and bounces it into a toe-tappingly jaunty number as Jonas professes that "You'd love me better when I'm rolling like a stone". Final track 'Mercy Street' begins like some sort of country bumpkin Phil Collins song, it's steeped in atmosphere and the ghostly line "let's take the boat out, wait until darkness comes" sends a shiver up the spine.


Seven songs is all we are privy to here though, and it's one its main downfalls because after just 20 minutes you're left wanting more, salivating for more punch-packing modern folk. Before you know it, the album is quickly over. The wonder is whether it would have been possible to get just a handful more of these gems to create something of a more rounded clutch of songs. Even with the empty feeling you're left with though this album is still better than its simplicity would have you believe.

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