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Jonesy: No Alternative

Album Notes

No Alternative was Jonesy's debut album, and its title track best summed up their aspirations of fusing improvisational jazz to prog rock with barely a thought to commercial consequences. A muscular piece with a tough political message, it spills back and forth between prog and jazz over a stop-start rhythm. Equally socially conscious is "Pollution," an epic track that showcased the band at its best. It begins with quiet, moody organ and Mellotron pooling around the heavy lyrics, then builds in intensity until suddenly the band breaks into bright, racing prog rock. There's a chime to the guitar foreshadowing U2, while jazz bassist David Paull sets the stage for the later success of New Order as he takes the lead during the second half of the number, occasionally joined by John Evan Jones surfy guitar. Equally notable was the band's use of Mellotron, which adds evocative and exotic shadings to many of their tracks. There again, No Alternative was a highly diverse set, which visits "Heaven," a gorgeous and luminescent, jazz-flavored place, and speeds off to the Far East for the thumping "Mind of the Century." The band alights in Mission Impossible territory, borrowing the theme song's distinctive riff for the hard prog-rocking "1958," and dances into funky town for the "Shaft" inspired funk-pop hybrid "Ricochet." But it's the jazz elements that reign supreme on this set, particularly around the band's excellent rhythm section. These elements departed soon after the album's release, and with the arrival of new players, Jonesy's sound shifted dramatically. Here they're at their purist and most adventurous. [The CD was also released with a Japanese bonus track.] ~ Jo-Ann Greene



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