Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Artist: Jonathan|Christian (@)
Title: the nothing i feel
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: self-released
Rated: *****
Has it already been two years since Jonathan|Christian released 'Beautiful/Hideous' ? I guess it has. 'the nothing i feel' is the followup to that, inspired by their musical roots with lush strings and the haunting keys of a grand piano, continuing their momentum bringing the best of old and new gothic rock. The album was mastered at The Cage Studios, Coventry, UK by Martin Bowes of Attrition, and features a remix by former KMFDM'er En Esch and drums by The New Creatures' Tiger Kohen on a couple of songs, including a cover of the Siouxsie Sioux/Danny Elfman song "Face to Face". Jonathan Mooney is the instrumentalist/songwriter of this duo, while Christian Granquist provides the vocals and lyrics. (Mooney is formerly of the New Creatures and now living and working out of Orange County, CA, Granquist is formerly of Day Behavior and plays keyboards in an electronic group out of Stockholm called The Atom.)

'Beautiful/Hideous' which I reviewed a good long while ago was an atmospheric, moody affair , full of pathos and high drama. On 'the nothing i feel' they haven't forsaken that, but they have pumped up the power quite a bit and that's a very positive thing. Opening with a brief lyrical recitation on the title track, Christian ensures the nothing he feels will be the nothing you feel as well. Disaffected, disillusioned, bordering on disgust, a welling up of emotion in a powerful catharsis that sweeps you away until the pseudo-classical fadeout. Wow! Rather intense. I should mention that Christian's voice sounds like a grittier Peter Murphy, but still somehow different, unique. "Goodbye Horses" and "Forgotten" are two nice tracks with appropriate impassioned delivery and lush orchestration, but "The Pink & The Black" kicks Jonathan|Christian up to a new level for them; an unstoppable locomotive of a dancefloor burner with ardent lyrics and vocals that pushes the needle into the red zone on the gothometer. "Independence" begins as a brooding piano-based ballad, but picks up steam towards the end. "Her Austere Heart" is an attempt to break the ice of the ice queen, steeped in gothic romanticism lyrically and orchestrally. A heavenly chorus ushers in "Your Lying Virtue" betraying the uptempo motif of this solid rocker that offers a few arrangement twists over the course of its four minutes and forty seconds. Another deeply emotional ballad follows with "I'm Dead (Without You)" and Christian really wears his heart on his sleeve and bares his soul for this one. "Hush" is a 52 second lullaby done old school with only piano and violin accompaniment that sounds positively nineteenth century, transitioning into into "Face To Face". For me, this is a tough one. This is one of my all-time favorite Siouxsie songs and hearing another version of it (when the original is perfect) is not easy. Be that as it may, Jonathan comes up with an interesting arrangement for the song. It's plenty powerful, and yet somehow delicate. Christian handles the vocals on it fairly well too. The album technically ends with the En Esch remix of "The Pink & The Black" and this is the one DJs are going to want for the clubs. I usually don't care much for remixes, but this one really rocks! I'm impressed. There is one more I was privy to - the Kitty Lectro Remix of "Forgotten". It's a somewhat stripped-down version of the original, and while nice, not essential. Guitar is more prominent, rhythm is simplified but overall, kind of superfluous, so you're not missing out on much.

'the nothing i feel' is a solid album with many good tracks, and some really great ones. You can preview the whole thing on their Bandcamp site, and buy it there too, or just what you like. (Buying it all give you more bang for the buck.) Powerful stuff, and if they ever play live in your area, you'd better catch them.


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