Stephen Jones Almost Cured Of Sadness

Stephen Jones’ dalliance with fame must have left him scarred for life. His big hit record, You’re Gorgeous (under his pseudonym of Baby Bird) was much darker than its sing-along chorus would have you believe and his latest work, Almost Cured Of Sadness is a return to the fucked up weirdness of his earlier recordings where commercial success is the last thing on his mind. The songs are a glorious mess of samples, beats and layer upon layer of noises that works surprisingly well. But the most unexpected element is Jones’ choice of vocal style — many of the songs are delivered in a strange falsetto that falls somewhere between Prince and Eels front-man E. Initially it is a little disconcerting, but by the time he finally decides to break out his "normal” voice, it sounds just as unsettling. The songs here are closer to hip-hop than anything else, yet like every other facet of Jones’ musical philosophy, nothing is that simple. His music bridges genres, unable to decide where to weigh its anchor, instead choosing to experiment playfully in a way that makes his disturbed love songs sound fresher than they have in years. Almost Cured Of Sadness is never anything less than interesting and often flirts with greatness. (Sanctuary)