The Body Balanced" (EP, 2020) !Recommended!
(like me) who prefer their artists to focus on a particular
style or genre might find Jan Doyle Band’s magpie approach
to songwriting frustrating. I get that. I really do. It’s
taken me a while to simply accept that when it comes to JDB
releases it’s futile approaching them with any specific
desires. As you’re most likely disappointed.
creative force Derek Anthony Williams has playfully created
his own genre - ‘Insurrectionary Neo Futurism’ - to
encompass JDB’s output. And as vague and open to
interpretation as that is, it somehow perfectly captures
Williams’ no-hold-barred approach to music and live
a kind of retro-1979/1980 vibe about much of this EP and the
musical genres it spans were all popular during that period.
This isn’t a contrived strategy, it merely reflects Derek
Anthony Williams’ influences and tastes.
The Body Balanced channels per-first album The
Sisters of Mercy. Its spareness, reverbed vocals echoing
into the space provided by the music creates a haunting
effect. I first heard this live a couple of years ago and it
immediately stood out. But this recorded counterpart is
simply terrific. Instantly up there as one of my favourite
Jan Doyle Band tracks.
DAF influence is obvious. But that’s not to say it doesn’t
bring its own imagination to the proto-EBM genre. A poignant
nod to another key influence coming just days before DAF’s
Gaby Delgado Lopez sadly died all too soon.
starts as if it’s going to be a chilled out cover of The
Human League’s Being Boiled but quickly develops a
strong style of its own. The melody in the background
recalls early Kraftwerk. One of Jan Doyle Band's most mellow
and effective songs to date.
uncomfortably like the theme tune to a BBC children’s
programme from 1980 Play Pretend really ought not to
work. The trite-sounding lyrics grate on first exposure but,
like a lot of JDB’s output, Play Pretend is actually
a lot smarter than it appears. Perhaps even more than its
creator realises? Although not the highpoint on this EP,
this will be the earworm you’ll keep hearing inside your
head when you wake up a week later.
time we get to a bonkers, and yet alarmingly effective cover
of Baccara's camptastic 1977 disco hit Yes Sir, I Can
Boogie you’ll either have been persuaded into
submission or smashed your audio device. (I’m pretty certain
Williams will be entirely happy with either outcome.) It
builds relentlessly both in tempo and impact, pausing only
to allow Williams to tell us in a measured tone “This is
the Jan Doyle Band. Premier practitioners of
Insurrectionary Neo Futurism”, before it explodes into
boogie woogie oblivion.
Four bonus tracks round off the EP. Three variants on the title track plus a demo of Confusion. The instrumental version of The Body Balanced highlighting the quality of the underlying composition. 7/10
Dyer (April 2020)
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