Jonteknik returns with a new album called, "Alternative Arrangements", which sees John call on various vocalists to produce an album of cover versions, with many of my personal favourite tracks covered, a who's who of 80s music and beyond.
Opening with the Tears For Fears track "Suffer The Children" is a smart move, as it is an outstanding version, vocals are provided by Bear Feathers and they are truly excellent and work very well with Jon's minimalistic arrangement. Listening to this track, it is staggering Tears For Fears didn't have a massive hit with it.
Next is a cover of Depeche Mode's "Nothing", on this track Jon has colaborated with Jimm Kjelgaard and once again it is a magnificent version, there are more synths used on this version than Depeche Mode's original. An excellent version.
Pet Shop Boys are probably in my top 3 favourite bands of all time and it is pleasing to see a cover version of "Rent". A slightly slowed down version with a minimal arrangement that works well. Jon has turned to Martin Philip for vocals, someone Jon has worked with before and he does a sterling job of the vocals. A very interesting approach to this track which I like.
Soft Cell are another guilty pleasure for me, I loved their music, especially "Bedsitter", "What" and "Torch", the latter has been recorded for this album and what a fantastic job Jon and Tom Sanderson have done, they have kept true to the original with great effect, not an easy track to cover but boy have they pulled it off, brilliant!
Hands up......who would attempt an electronic version of a Smiths song?? An impossible task you would think, however, Jon has pushed the boundaries of his music skills, to make an arrangement that works really well, of the Smiths track "Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want", he has also done the vocals on the track, definitely an interesting cover version.
Next on the album, a track I rate as one of the best of all time, the Joy Division track "Decades", this is simply a beautiful and respectful cover version executed perfectly, Stephen Newton does a perfect job of the vocals, which are in keeping with Ian Curtis' mournful vocals on the original, and the music arrangement is superb and every bit as good as the original. Perfection!
An OMD cover version was always going to feature on this album and the track chosen is a more experimental track of theirs, "Of All The Things We've Made", which was on the OMD album "Dazzle Ships". I love the synth reworking of this track, the original featured Guitar, great use of strings, percussion and choir sounds, a beautiful arrangement which features Peter Fitzpatrick of Circuit3 on vocals, this version is moody and atmospheric and very impressive.
The next song is a bit of an oddity, it is a cover of The Doors track "People Are Strange", again featuring Peter Fitzpatrick on vocals, this is another track that is very interesting to listen to as of course the original was far from electronic, but Jon and Peter have succeeded in producing a very good interpretation of the track.
The Human League instrumental track "Gordon's Gin", a track off their album "Travelogue", is next and is a true to the original arrangement, I like the additional percussion and drum elements in this version as well as the synth sounds, some nice additional parts on this version to. It is a longer version that builds up brilliantly. It keeps it's slow pace throughout unlike the Human League original. It would have been nice to see the 2nd half half of the songs tempo notched up a bit.
The album closes with a cover of The Police track "Invisible Sun", which has a "Joy Division" overhaul, never been a fan of the work of Sting, so I'm not the best person to judge this track, probably my least favourite track on the album, it doesn't grab me like most of the tracks on the album.
Tackling a covers album is never the easiest of tasks at the best of times, but Jon & friends have produced an excellent album of songs, that are more obscure than the usual 80s fodder that gets covered and that has to be commended, their are some real gems on display here, "Suffer The Children", "Torch", "Decades" and "Of All The Things We've Made".
All in all a very enjoyable experience listening to this album.
We will be featuring tracks from the album on January's and February's i-Select shows on White Lion Radio.
The album is being released on white vinyl as a Limited Edition, which will also include a promo CD.
For full details about the release check out the Jonteknik Facebook page:
or Jon's official website: