Denis Jones

3333

The music and performance of Manchester-based Skelmersdale native Denis Jones has constantly evolved with the expansion of his music-making arsenal.

By now a creative polyglot, who speaks the languages of live theatre scores, cross-cultural collaborations, cinematic synthetic sounds, and self-reviewing, Jones is long rehearsed in casting shamanic musical spells unbounded by sonic restraint or dogma to a single aural output. For 3333, his third LP and the follow-up to 2007’s Humdrum Virtue and 2010’s Red + Yellow =, Jones sets self-imposed parameters, temporally, with tracks cutting off where their clocked digits neatly align - 2.22, 3.33 or 4.44.

Although a useful concept for focusing artistry that can see improvised performances extend beyond standard long player timings, it’s not one that affects the listen beyond making the album practical. Like his live sets, 3333’s tracks are loaded with kinetic layers. They vary in intensity, but remain typically robust, dense and delivered with vocals articulated through earnest urgency. Whereas the title track fires a cacophonous opening salvo, immediately introducing guest vocalist Leonore Wheatley, its subsequent eight bursts of audio stomp and flicker between the plodding squelches of ‘Don’t’, the whirring mechanics of ‘Don Benito’ and the sci-fi synths of ‘Eden’.

3333 often deliberately swerves convention, but track length brevity isn’t its only interwoven pop sensibility. Finding rhythm within the industrial smog, the relative clarity and funky shoulder-jutting grooves of ‘Jazz Squared’ connects the dots with ‘Render Me’, his lead-single guest appearance on Mr Scruff’s Friendly Bacteria. Even so, its hymns will preach more to the converted than the undecided.

Ian Pennington

Denis Jones launches 3333 at Band on the Wall on Wednesday 18 April.