Jonny Craig

A Dream Is A Question You Don't Know How To Answer

Written by: DR on 23/08/2009 15:42:42

Few front men in the music scene of today have reputations that precede them; Jonny Craig is undeniably one of the few. Blessed with a unique and momentous voice, as well as a somewhat chequered past involving rumoured drug addictions and being shown the door by Dance Gavin Dance, it seems he has matured (now at the ripe old age of 23) and is ready to channel his past defeats into his art.

Despite possessing the best voice in the scene, I have never personally regarded Craig as one of the best front men. In my humble opinion, to be one of the very best being a great vocalist isn't that important, but instead the song-writing ability itself must far outweigh singing capability. While being able to hit a note is compulsory, the knack for being able to hit all of them while seamlessly switching from delicate whispers to powerful roars is a bonus, and second to the ability to write great songs. Jonny Craig has never once so much as threatened to strike me as a great song-writer, so this solo album was his chance to show that there is far more to him than his voice.

If it wasn't for his previous bands, this solo effort would not have been released on Rise Records - a label famous for the generic scenecore types; not this RnB-meets-pop-meets-acoustic-meets-rock stuff.

It's an odd concoction, but when Craig pulls it off, it's done fairly well. The opening two tracks are worth skipping, "I Still Feel Her (pt. III)" is carried on from Emarosa's Relativity and though it only clocks in at a 3 minutes and 22 seconds long, it seems to drag on; the repeated chorus "Do the words 'Still Love You' give you security/Bottled up like smoke floating over flames" over and over again, to the backdrop of "whoaaa" gets tiresome, fast.

If you don't mind the cringe-worthy cliché on the best track "What I Would Give To Be Australian" that kicks the song off: "Set it up, this is what I'm talking about, let me do my thing, here we go." then you can admire how Craig slides easily between gentle cries and full-throated belts and also marvel at the connection between Craig and his female counterpart who almost steals Craig's limelight. The rest of the album never quite lives up to the standard set by the third track, "7 am, 2 Bottles And The Wrong Road" being a particular highlight for just how hit and miss Craig's lyrics are: "I have no time girl, to play this game with you. I have a queen, why would I settle for a fucking maid? Don't bring me back to this game." "Taking Time For All The Wrong Things" momentarily brings the quality back up, being more of a ballad offering accompanied by an acoustic guitar and for a change, half-decent lyrics and Craig allowing his voice to lead the way rather than over-thinking the vocals: "There was a time that I was not afraid, today is the day we send this wind away." There should be more to a solo album than just ridiculously great vocals (which after a while, become quite a challenge to listen to). I was hoping for Craig to show us all just how good of a song-writer he is, but sadly, it's not to be. One for the fan boys I'm afraid.

Download: What I Would Give To Be Australian, Taking Time For All The Wrong Things
For Fans of: Isles And Glaciers, Emarosa
Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.08.2009
Rise Records

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