Jono McCleery - There Is
Over the past year Jono McCleery has cropped up supporting the likes of Bonobo and Jamie Woon, and those artists aren’t bad starting points when digesting his second album There Is. The obvious star of the album is McCleery’s beautifully soulful vocals, at once emotionally charged and somewhat relaxing. Coupled with the minimal electronic work and various other pieces of subtle instrumentation, he could quite easily be compared to the aforementioned Woon or James Blake.
Yet there’s something more organic to the way he sounds, letting his voice seep through untreated and gliding across the synthetic back drop seamlessly. ‘Fears’ is a brilliant example, McCleery’s soulful flow moving around skittering drums and atmospheric whooshes. Elsewhere the quiet throb and layered voices of ‘Wonderful Life’ prove to be haunting and lethargic, and is perhaps the moment which could best be compared to Mr Blake. The four minutes of delicate layering of strings, lulling guitar melodies and sporadic glitches that precludes any vocal is perhaps some of the most effective on the record, making the emergence of his voice all that more effective.
The two collaborations on the record are a little hit and miss, with Fink not really adding much of note to the string-laden ‘Stand Proud’, though Vashti Bunyan’s soothing harmonies on ‘Only’ are a fitting foil to McCleery’s darkly smooth delivery. In fact Bunyan’s influence can be heard elsewhere on the album, particularly towards the albums close on the rather more folky ‘The Gymnopedist’ and ‘Tie Me In’, while at the finish proper, the intensely dramatic and brilliantly arranged ‘She Moves’ carries the listener off. There Is marks Jono McCleery out as an enchanting and enthralling talent, assimilating electronics to the point where it seems as natural as breathing.