Monday, June 22, 2015

Another great album from Zach Jones!

Out of all the amazing singers, songwriters, and musicians I've had the privilege of writing about over five hundred and some posts, Zach Jones has got to be one of the two or three most talented. His 2013 album The Days is one of the true pop masterpieces of recent memory, and he's followed it up with the stunning Love What You Love. Stylistically this release is somewhat of a return to Jones's power pop roots following the soul and baroque pop turns of recent albums. But more than anything else, Love What You Love just sounds like a Zach Jones record. Regardless of which musical influences are most palpable, you can count on songs built on a foundation of melody. And that voice? Wow!

Jones, a Maine native now residing in Los Angeles, recorded Love What You Love in his apartment. He pretty much did it all: singing lead and backing vocals and playing guitar, bass, and piano. Yet even without the deliberate stylization of The Days, Love What You Love manages to evoke that same classic early '70s pop-rock sound. It's a recording as warm and sunny as California itself - rife with gorgeous vocals and truly exquisite melodies. And again, Jones has crafted a set of songs unified by a singular theme. Love What You Love is essentially an album about struggles and setbacks in life - and the good that can come from shining a positive light on such experiences. Fortunately, these lyrical ambitions are not wasted on mediocre songs. Jones has really outdone himself with these 10 tracks - delivering some of the most irresistible hooks and memorable tunes of his life. If you heard the first three songs and assumed this was some '70s singer/songwriter's greatest hits collection, I wouldn't blame you!

By design, Love What You Love has a little something for everyone. There are a number of songs that would not sound out of place on The Days, while elsewhere Jones indulges his love for everything from acoustic soft rock ("Song In The Sunshine") to '70s "AM gold" ("Away From You") to sultry rock/soul ("Lucky One") to straight-up power pop (the fantastic "Some Other Day"). Kicking off with the sheer majesty of "Everything's Fine" and unassailable '67/'68 Kinks stylings of "Hate What You Hate", this album starts off strong and continues to delight to the very end. And the song sequencing is perfect - spreading out the handful of ballads to ensure that the album never loses steam. The beautiful "Nothing's Changed", for example, has an even greater impact sandwiched between the record's two hardest-rocking tracks. And given Jones's history of exceptional album closers, it's no surprise that "Out On The Town" leaves a dramatic final impression.

Zach Jones has been remarkably prolific since going solo five years ago. Love What You Love is already his fifth album, and essentially it brings together the best qualities of the previous four. Even with a home-recording approach, he proves he can still turn out radio-worthy pop songs along side sophisticated works of melodic beauty. Without a doubt, he's one of our finest present-day songwriters. If you grew up on the timeless melodies of the '60s and '70s and find that today's music leaves much to be desired, throw some love in the direction of Zach Jones.


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