On previous album Master of None:
“I love this record’ – Lauren Laverne (6 Music)
“Skewed-pop amble … a lo-fi electro-folk wonder” – The List
“understated cooing over the minutiae of every day life … transformed into bouncing astral straddling ditties” – Drowned In Sound
Jonnie Common makes some of the strangest noises ever to be combined into such catchy, digestible pop songs.
His first album Master of None came out on the awesome Manchester-based imprint Red Deer Club in 2011, and its combination of pathos, humour and charm made it a firm favourite, particularly amongst the Scottish underground music scene.
I suppose you’d have to call this stuff electronic pop, and while a lot of the music he makes has some very strange elements, the end result tends to be eminently listenable, infectious music.
Trapped in Amber, his new album, out on Song, by Toad Records on Halloween 2014, is perhaps less of a collection of breezy pop tunes than its predecessor, but I think it ends up actually feeling like a better overall album. It holds together more as a single, coherent piece of work, and with the more experimental stuff coming to the fore the sparkling pop moments actually end up standing out more this time around.
For a meticulous crafstman like Jonnie I am always amazed at how loose and relaxed his music sounds, and for someone who peppers his lyrics with wit and fun, it’s amazing how heartbreaking he can be, often when you least expect it. Try contrasting the lightness of Shark and Crumbs with the horrible sadness of So and So and the melancholic regret of Figurehead, for example.
It makes for music which sounds light and fun, but actually has far more depth than that, meaning that even once you get past the simple enjoyment of the hummable stuff, there is still a hell of a lot more here to enjoy.