17.34 –  Jonathan Alexander (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

There was a time when videos were merely a marketing tool, a supplementary piece of promotion to help sell the song in question, something to be fun and forgettable. But over the years things have changed, or at least those smart enough to understand the power of the video, especially in today’s distracting and visually driven market, have changed the way they use them. Jonathan Alexander is one of those astute enough to recognise that a song with the right film accompaniment is more than the sum of its parts. Much more.

The three tracks that make up his debut e.p. form part of an ongoing narrative one of relationships, of love, loss and longing, those themes that are at once intimate and personal yet totally relatable to anyone watching. It is for this reason that whilst cataloging such singular thoughts he is also delivering something with mass appeal. It might be his story, his thoughts, his feelings but we have all been there. Probably more often than we would have cared to.

Better Off Without You sets the scene via a gentle balladic approach, of plaintive pianos and brooding string washes, it is gracefully and restrained in its approach which perfectly matches the thoughtful and heart-tugging nature of the lyrics.

Light On is the middle in the series of songs where the story continues to explore the relationship  between the two character from before which resolves in an honest way. Like real life not everything has a happy ending, not in the short term at least. Even away from the visuals Light On is a compelling song, mixing indie cool and confidence with pop accessibility. It strikes out with bold beats and a hypnotic and wonderfully repetitive chorus that draws the listener in and will have them singing along before the halfway mark…whether they want to or not. Infectiousness is the name of the game here.

If & When is the final chapter of the triptych and is built on a cinematic pop groove, one that could easily play the chart game but which is fashioned with more integrity than the usual pop industry fare, it’s the sound of an indie song showing pop music how to do its job properly. Take that pop pickers!

As a suit of songs and indeed a collection of narrative videos this is a fine start for Jonathan Alexander. Clever enough to stand out, addictive enough to fit in, cultish enough for the more discerning pop tastes and commercial enough to find mass appeal. How cool is that?

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