DOTN REDUX - God Is In The TV Review
Stephen Jones is certainly a prolific artist. Since 1995 he has released over 18 albums, and in the process has managed to shift in excess of 2 million records. In 2012 devoted fans were upset to hear that Jones had put an end to his most famous moniker Babybird following a frustratingly underrated final album 'The Pleasures Of Self Destruction'. Luckily for us Stephen still has plenty of other musical projects to busy himself with, in fact you get the impression that without music this man really wouldn't know what to do with himself.
'DOTN Redux' sees him resurrect his Death Of The Neighbourhood alias, and this time it's not just the name that has been reprised. The original 2008 Death Of The Neighbourhood album was a double disc 32 track monster that featured everything from sugar coated lullabies to genuinely disturbing helium-voiced hip hop with lyrics about cocaine and botox. An interesting album certainly, but perhaps a bit of a mess for some. Definitely not for the faint hearted, that's for sure. 'DOTN Redux' takes nine of that album's most gorgeously effective moments and places them in a completely new setting alongside four superb new tracks. This may be the slightly "nicer" side of DOTN, but you can still sense something disturbing at the heart of the music.
'God's Not Coming' opens the record, chunky beats stacked upon a beautiful piano melody, the kind that seems to come naturally to this lo-fi legend. There's the eerie voices and undiluted heartbreaking magic of 'Elvis Is Coming', the wonderful and brief 'Kill What You Love', and the tranquil, blissful sadness of 'Forgot To Take My Drugs'. In these new surroundings, the previously released tracks have a greater impact when placed alongside the likes of 'And The Children Sang A Song That Never Ended', with its introspective ambience and masterful, spacious arrangement. Elsewhere 'I Love My TV' seeks comfort in the television set when the real world is just too cruel to deal with, while the excellent 'Dumb Down' comes across like some sinister playground singalong while still giving you the same floating sensation the rest of the album does. It's creepy and unsettling yet it still has that dreamlike quality to it.
Beautifully bleak and hauntingly cinematic, 'The Big Yellow M' is tragic yet alluringly pretty, while 'Bruised Brain' is as sweet and delicate as a newborn, not unlike a baby bird in fact. By that point it becomes clear that this is not some sort of money making operation or another attempt at mainstream success, but music that is being made because its creator knows he has a gift. And to not share that gift with the rest of us would just be unfair.
If you don't own the first Death Of The Neighbourhood album, then this is your second chance to discover these brilliant songs. If you already own that record then 'DOTN Redux' provides the opportunity to hear some of that material in a new way, as well as the four stunning new compositions. Without the clutter, the songs have more room to breathe and seem to come together in a way that makes this a far more cohesive collection of songs. An all-new DOTN album is due for release later in 2013.
Thank you Mr Scott and God Is In the TV for the great review!