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Desoto Jones - Aurora

  by Paul Raven

published: 29 / 1 / 2008

Desoto Jones - Aurora
Label: Deep Elm Records
Format: CD


Overproduced, but forceful and diverse debut album from emo rock act Desoto Jones

The penetration of rock tropes into popular music continues apace, but the movement is not omnidirectional. While pop music begs borrows and steals from its inherently more innovative brother, rock is busy reappropriating ideas from pop. If you've ever watched one of those natural history programs where ants build a bridge across a chasm by clinging together and seen the way the span reaches from both sides before joining at the very centre, you'll have some idea of how I see the convergence of two cultural aesthetics which have always claimed a mutual antagonism despite being genetically close. I think we can all agree that the bridge of ants made its first connection some time ago; Desoto Jones can't claim to be the first link between the two sides, nor do I suggest they would try to. But that centre point has been thickening and strengthening with groups like Desoto Jones, whose credentials for either side of the divide are equally valid. In other words, 'Aurora' is about as close to the perfect compromise between pop and rock as I've heard in some time. Packed with soaring harmonised vocal parts, epic guitar work and bright melodies as popularised by the pop-punk and emo acts arranged in structures that borrow from the post-hardcore scene without getting too progressive and alienating the simple hooks – Desoto Jones have an ear for memorable and accessible music. Contrast the radio-friendly ballad 'Giant Magnets' with its pacey and punchy neighbour 'Cap Gun' - two very different tunes that don't feel at all awkward next to each other. But one can only review from one's own perspective. And from my more rock-biased point of view, 'Aurora' is little overproduced in places – a little less gloss would have, counterintuitively, made some of the songs more immediate, more forceful. And the pop tunes are a shade too saccharine for sincerity; they'll work perfectly on a more mainstream listener, but they're a bit schmaltzy to my more cynical ears. The question is, will the tactic of trying to be everything to everyone pay off for Desoto Jones? As always, only time will tell – the market is a fickle place, as tens of thousands of one-album careers will attest to. But Aurora has no obvious flaws, showcasing some strong musical skills and savvy songwriting talent - and if that's any use at all in trying to stay afloat in a sea of similar acts, Desoto Jones have to be in with a good chance of success.

Track Listing:-
1 Speed Bump
2 Don't Fail Me
3 Giant Magnets
4 Cap Gun
5 Nonfiction
6 Out Of The Blue
7 Sweet Sun
8 Courtesy Call
9 Working Class Daydream
10 Waiting

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