Built By Angels is Jon Byrne’s new album. The artist was spotted by none other than Mick Jones from The Clash whilst buskin on Portobello road. Since then Jon Byrne has won Glastonbury’s Leftfield Best New Artist Award and won many admirers including Billy Bragg, I am Kloot’s Johnny Bramwell and John Cooper Clarke. We gave the new album a spin and here are our thoughts.
The album kicks off with Lighthouse and straight off you are submerged in an old American folk music sound. The track sounds nostalgic with the help of the harmonica and Byrne’s vocals who are quite something special.
The intro to Forever Chasing That Feeling is soft and fragile with the help of Jon Byrne’s shaky vocals. Before too long the track gains momentum and a certain edge. Again we enjoy the nostalgia of old folk/blues that this track has to give.
Jon Byrne is a deep man you can tell by the emotion that comes out of his vocals but also with every guitar stroke. Suddenly I Was In Love is heart breaking and heart-warming all at once. This quiet ballad is only complimented by Byrne’s vocals that melt you in an instant. Little Layla picks up where Suddenly I Was In Love left off. This time though there is a little more lift to the track, which is enjoyable and makes it a little breezier.
The next track to get our attention is The Bitch and Her Greed. We its upbeat tempo and snarly vocals, which makes this little gem an instant favourite. With a rough guitar riff and tongue and cheek lyrics the track just sways you effortlessly with its melody. Another favourite on the album is Living The Dream. The track works because of its simplicity. There are no frills this is simply good old fashioned rock. Byrne’s vocals always add something to the music and this is certainly true here too, with his delicate humming and an understanding of what the music is trying to say, Byrne easily touches you.
We are back into ballad territory with The Right Side Of Love. If you like something quite touching and fragile then this is a track for you. Byrne’s soaring vocals compliment the song beautifully. Hollywood Calling is also slow but it touches a subject many musicians have played with, party life, drugs and just good old rock and roll lifestyle. We love it!
The album carries on with a few more ballads including the title track, Built By Angels.
Jon Byrne’s second album is stunning to say the least, with its hypnotising vocals and catchy melodies; Built By Angels is a great follow up to the artist’s debut. Soon enough buskin days memories will be distant.