If someone saw Jonquil [Facebook/Twitter] now, they’d need to be told that the band ever were a six-piece. Three ex-Jonquilites (as I’m calling them) are now in the similarly excellent Trophy Wife, having splintered off from their old band in 2010. Songwriter-in-chief Hugo Manuel wondered whether the band would even try to carry on after literally being split in half. The original idea was to get another three people in, but somewhere along the line, three people became one person, and the band reassembled and redefined themselves as a four-piece. Those parts were theirs, and they decided to play them how they wanted (to borrow from lead single It’s My Part) – they decided to rip up the original blueprint of the band and start again.
This is why Point of Go comes absolutely loaded with significance. From its album title, from which not one, but two tracks take their names – parts one and two respectively, the former a guitar-focused balled, the latter relying on skittering beats and wonderful atmospherics – to the effort made to ensure it was ‘far more poppy and accessible’ than anything else the band had done in their previous incarnation. The entire album is immediate, with songs that not only make an instantaneous impression, but linger in the mind long after they’re finished. These songs are drafted to enough of a high standard that I’m having trouble picking out my favourite even now.
My gut instinct tells me that I should go with stunning album opener Swells, which is up there as one of my favourite songs of the year at the time of writing, but truth be told this is something that changes from one day to the next. As unquestionably brilliant as the sax solo on that song may be, the opener’s given quite a run for its money Run, Real Cold and History of Headaches – in particular, I mean, as the piano-led Getaway can make a pretty compelling case for the title of best song on the album… I’m sure you can see what I’m getting at by now.
It’s true, Point of Go is indeed greater than the sum of its parts, but those parts are sublime in themselves. It’s an album so refreshing and enjoyable that it already has me thinking of – and immensely looking forward to – the summer months. Drawing a line under what’s gone by and dropping hints about what may or may not be the next step for the now-quartet, Jonquil’s third album might have been a while in the making – and there was a time when it was questionable that they would ever make music again – but it’s finally here, far more exuberant and triumphant – and downright thrilling – than was perhaps expected.
Point of Go is out on Blessing Force/Cooperative Music next Monday. Stream the whole thing at Paste Magazine.
PRE-ORDER Jonquil – Point of Go [Amazon]