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Friday, 8 May 2020

Them Jones - The Saturn Cinema

Firstly, let me say that I absolutely adore Them Jones. This is the Philadephia five piece's fourth album and without doubt it is their best. Those pesky noisier guitars have been set aside for a more Piano led adventure and it works oh so well.

When there is Guitar, it is done in a much gentler understated way, there's even guest appearances on Brass. The band have been labelled as Psych and we know what problems labels can induce. A potential needed audience will think of Flower Power Guitars and little else.

This shift has resulted in a move away from the bearded Shindig wannabes and towards a far more Pastoral Pop akin to the likes of Jacco Gardner, even gentler Dreamy Psych tinted pop such as XTC's Skylarking. The Saturn Cinema sound more Toytown, welcomely so.

This isn't a twee self satisfied affair though and when the band step away from the pop, they take on some unexpected delights. To The Shoreline Crawling is a large soundscape akin to 70s Pink Floyd or more recently, Big Big Train. The Doctor is magnificent, a bit like Ron and Russell Mael retreating to the country.

Bloodline Blues has a Spaghetti Western feel and Parts And Pieces is suitably trippy, but it is the Pop that pierces most. Isn't it always? The likes of The Woman Is A Poor Child swoons along and Parts And Pieces is in line with the intelligent pop of The Sugarplastic.

The piano parts have a Madness feel, without the humour, but with the songwriting strength. The Saturn Cinema is an outstanding offering. It'll certainly be up their on my end of year list and I'd also recommend the band's fine back catalogue. It is different to this, but just as interesting.

You can listen to and buy the album here.


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