A beautiful introduction to her artistry as a vocalist and songwriter, however this album may not resonate entirely with listeners outside of the pop genre.
New Skin, the debut album from London-based singer-songwriter JONES, consolidates her breakthrough into the music industry following 2015’s Indulge EP. With a sound that she has previously described as “soul-pop and alternative” and an admiration of artists such as Tame Impala and Lykke Li, New Skin is essentially pop, which may make some songs on the album sound slightly generic, however versatility in the instrumentation and arrangement of the album as a whole help to give the record some uniqueness.
Opening track ‘Rainbow’ perfectly demonstrates how JONES’ musical influences have merged together in the creative process, and the production on this track is very effective. The Rhodes piano adds depth and sits well with the simple vocal melody, and spaced percussion at the close solidifies the track’s laidback and ethereal ambience.
‘Waterloo’ is a definite highlight, carrying the most sincere instrumentation of the album’s 12 tracks. The production compliments her lyrics well whilst the beautiful chord progressions allow a showcase of her vocal tone with poetic lyrics (“You think you’re falling, I’ve been there before / I am the ocean but you are the shore”). The track unquestionably remains pop-minded but still manages to infuse elements of vocal soul, reminding me of the track ‘Dreaming’ by producer BOOTS.
On tracks like ‘Melt’ and ‘Walk My Way,’ one can’t help but fall into the groove. The country/alternative guitar melodies on ‘Melt’ are fresh and distinct, reminiscent of the album Songs About Jane by Maroon 5, and the instrumentation and vocals of ‘Walk My Way’ add an element of funk which resonates well. Nonetheless, the stand out track has to be the title track, which is by far the most experimental one on the record. It beautifully highlights JONES’ tone and range, and it’s a shame that the listener has to wait until the end of the album to experience it.
However, there are moments on New Skin that fall short on innovation. The lyrics and melodies on tracks such as ‘Out Of This World’ are slightly cheesy, sounding more like something that Taylor Swift or Charli XCX would include on an album. If you’re a fan of this type of pop then you may find it to be fantastic, however it won’t resonate with everyone pursuing the more soulful side of things. The instrumentation itself is not terrible, and if one were to hear this track live then the production and band would likely just about save the song from being too generic.
On the whole, New Skin is a beautiful introduction to JONES and her craft, showcasing her elegant vocal tone, harmony choices, and ability to adapt to slightly different variations of the pop genre. Is there room for improvement? Like anything in life, yes, but this album is certainly one to experience.
New Skin is out now via 37 Adventures