Jonnie Common: Figurehead

Jonnie hits the bullseye yet again

  • Label: Red Deer Club
  • Format: single
  • Buy this record: label website
Rating: 7.9 out of 10
The cover image of Figurehead by Jonnie Common

There are few artists I'm enamoured of enough to start throwing excessive punctuation around willy-nilly. Chief amongst the marks I try to avoid is the exclamation point. That said, Jonnie Common's latest single is really, really great!

It's not been long since Common's last single, the enigmatically titled JWC008. That one was released with the quirky MacGuffin of a hand-printed glass stamp. Following that, the digital/cassette-tape format for Figurehead feels positively pedestrian. Mercifully, the music is anything but. In many ways Figurehead is in much the same vein of the singles from his last LP Master Of None. The electronic rhythmic elements are as delicately crafted as ever, the bass is languid and fluid, and the lead lines soar without ever being as trite as to be ‘anthemic’.

What's more, this time there's a whole slew of variations culminating in a remix by Found (genre-bending EbM favourites in their own right). I normally have a strict policy on remixes, which is to throw them on the fire as quickly as possible. Such is the cachet of both the JC and Found brands that I was willing to make an exception and give it ago. It does, inevitably fall into some of the traps that make me so despair of remix in general, such as attuning and distorting the lead vocal, and being so repetitive of rhythm as to be soporific. But the addition of the brass was a master stroke, and the end result is something that actually adds to the release; contrasting nicely with the main event, not overpowering it, but at the same time not completely pointless either. All in all, a classic b-side.

All these singles have left me hungry for a Jonnie Common album proper. Whether one is in the pipeline I can't say, but when that record does surface I'm willing to bet good money that it'll be a real treasure.

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