Jesus Jones

SBK Records, 1991

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The first thing that catches the eye on Doubt, the latest from London-based rockers Jesus Jones, are the alliterations and tautologies in the song titles: “Real, Real, Real,” “Who Where Why,” “Right Here, Right Now,” “Two And Two;” the album was also a huge success, thanks mostly to these inventive titles.

“Right Here Right Now” and “Real, Real, Real,” along with “International Bright Young Thing,” are what this album is primarily known for: adorably hummable pop numbers with an unusual inclination to rock, something that was still novel in the year 1991. The album is full of peppy pop-rock singles. It also took the stoned Manchester club-music, made popular by the likes of The Stone Roses, The Charlatans UK, and The Happy Monday, and gave it a demoniac facelift -- infusing dance-beats with spacey samples and catchy guitar-hooks. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Doubt was one of the forerunners in the realm of commercial music that took dance (or for that matter, even rock) to different experimental heights.

This disc is full of zippy choruses that the radio would love to play again and again ad nauseam. But there is a moodier side to it, too, and it is as interesting as its winsome one. Like the opening track “Trust Me,” a dark shocker for those pop-heads who thought “Real, Real, Real” was a fantastic pop number when they first saw it on MTV and thought they should lay their hands on the rest of the record. Singer Mike Edwards kicks off the record with the right words: “Trust me, I know what I am doing,” then screams “trust me” throughout the chorus amidst the barrage of guitar-sounds that sound so “Real, Real, Real.” Not to mention the 500mph killer beats that propel the song.

After Edwards has finished asking questions about himself and his existence using a string of questions starting from “W” on “Who? Where? Why?” he gets all subfusc again, as he sings, “Under the skin I bruise easily…you’ll never know until you push it too far” on the musically stripped “I’m Burning.” Edwards gets colder and bitterer on “Nothing To Hold Me,” where the anger is fiercer, and the beats catchier. His coarsely powerless vocals nevertheless sound amazingly powerful on this track as he sings, “I hope my feet stay on the ground with nothing around to hold me, to hold me, to hold me.”

As the album comes to a close, it gets moody again with “Two And Two,” “Stripped,” and the closing cut “Blissed.” But this is also where the album also gets a bit lame. After nine solid songs, the band starts sounding like a bunch of directionless and talentless musicians. Still, the closing number “Blissed” offers respite, with a slightly down-tempo mood and dreamy ambience that ends everything on a less poppy note.

Doubt is a great pop album and a great experimental success of the 1990’s. It surprises in a lot of places, especially with the moodier, more difficult tracks that give the record more depth, making it worthwhile for more than just its irresistibly hummable singles.  

Rating: B+

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© 2008 Vish Iyer and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of SBK Records, and is used for informational purposes only.