Jono McCleery: “Garden”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/02-Garden.mp3|titles=Jono McCleery: “Garden”]
Wonderful Life / Garden, the new single from London-based electro-folk artist Jono McCleery, leads off with a cover of “Wonderful Life” from ’80s British pop band Black. Singing over the minor-key melody, McCleery’s voice is not so dissimilar from vocalist Colin Vearncombe‘s even-keeled, cooly detached crooning. Fybe, the track’s producer, buried the upbeat synth stabs deeper into the mix, bringing a darker dubstep beat to the fore, thereby downplaying the lyrical/instrumental dissonance present in the original. It’s full of hazy soul, reminiscent of Nina Simone‘s indelible vocals, or more recently, James Blake‘s understated delivery.
As its title indicates, the single also contains an original, a new track entitled “Garden.” McCleery goes full-on Radiohead, mixing plucked acoustic guitar with sweeping ambience and skittering drums. The comparisons flow easily — not because McCleery’s sound is an imitation, but because it’s vaguely timeless, culling and presenting various musical touchstones with a distinctly futuristic polish.
Two more tracks — a remix of “Garden” by Seiji and a remix of “Raise Me” by Fybe — round out the release. McCleery’s upcoming full-length, There Is, is due in September.