When anybody creates music they do so for meaning. Maybe they want to put meaning in to that which they create, or maybe they want to feel a meaning grow through their creation organically. Some people create music where the meaning for them is hidden with the intention that those who hear it add their own interpretation to it. Jonny Melodic has created music here that is directly communicating his meaning through the lyrics and sounds that he is creating. He wants to communicate himself very clearly to the listener, partially in the hope that they will understand and it will resonate with them and their own experience, but also as a form of catharsis.
We delved into the album at Flam and Flange with ears open. We knew that this album was Jonny’s way of discussing and shining a light on mental health issues so rather than doing one of our light hearted reviews we thought we would do something a little more serious that valued the work that he had put in to it.
To explain the album best to everyone it’s probably best to turn over to Jonny who outlines it clearly in his press release :
“I had been struggling with my mental health for a couple of years, and it all came to a head in the Autumn of 2019, when I needed to have a bit of a time out from the stresses of modern life. Recording music has always been a cathartic process for me, so I took this opportunity to record some song ideas that I had been working on, to help with the healing process. It was a very intense period over a couple of months, but the music just seemed to flow out of me.
This album has been a real labour of love and I am proud of how it has turned out, although I wasn’t sure about releasing it to the public until now. I hope that it won’t be seen as being too over-indulgent, and that the theme of the songs will connect with other people, and the difficulties they may have faced”
So what is the album like? Jonny has clear influences from some classic 70s and 80s artists like Bowie, Ferry, Talking Heads, Talk Talk and lots of other Synth Wave and New Wave artists. There are even shades of Dead or Alive. But it’s not at all stuck in the past, the piano sounds are like that of more modern artists like Evanescence and the synth programming is reminiscent of Todd Terje. Even with all of that said, Jonny isn’t simply recreating other musicians, he’s creating his own sound that is inherently his own, particularly where the vocal production sits. Musically speaking the production is very high, it’s clear to the trained ear that he has spent a lot of time and money on his production suite. Whether it is in a bedroom or a barn, the production sounds as if it has easily come from Abbey Road or Rockfield studios.
Each of the tracks give a solid, well rounded feel to their realisation. The structure of the album attests to this in that it has been planned from start to finish with a clear through line of thought, theme and narrative. This isn’t something that was just thrown together over a couple of weekends, but a creation of many late nights and careful thought.
There are some stand out tracks of course. “Between The Dark and The Light” is a relaxed, sorrowful and moving song that certainly shows the “Melodic” quality of his work. “Refusenik” is Devo-esque, showing a progression of emotions, making sense of his chaos and transforming it into positive self affirmation. The darkly melancholic “No Time To Die” will certainly resonate with those of us who have ever had suicidal thoughts.
The whole album is an open and introspective verbal dialogue where Jonny invites us into his mind, emotions and thoughts in the hope that we will find some solidarity in his struggles to combat the daily challenges to our mental health. He even sets out a “roadmap for recovery” for others by reflecting on his progression and shows that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how far away it seems.
Have a listen for yourself and see if it hits home with you with you as it did with us, and if you want to purchase the album you can know that you’re helping a good cause as Jonny will be donating all of the proceeds to MIND.
By: Stu McGoo (Flam and Flange)