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Matt Jones & the Reconstruction – Half Poison, Half Pure

on March 23, 2012, 7:59am

Matt Jones isn’t concerned about selling albums. This is not to say that his latest release with his band The Reconstruction, Half Poison, Half Pure, isn’t good or that you shouldn’t buy it. (Actually, it’s a bargain; you can set your own price on his bandcamp page.) No, Jones’ lack of concern for sales is obvious from the album itself. At a scant 27 minutes over eight tracks, Half Poison is closer to an EP than a full-length. It plays out more like an art project than anything; there is no obvious single, no filler material, just 27 minutes of slick, well-edited, nervy indie rock. Jones has a voice that’s half neurosis and half punk rock, ringing out like a bell over the broad guitar and strategic percussion of The Reconstruction, a significant change from his previous solo outings.

“Special Forces” starts the record off quietly before reaching a shouted chorus: “What’s it say/What’s it mean/I don’t know/You tell me.” The tempo continues to build to its high point on third track “The Games We Used to Play”, a quick, witty variety of strings forming a nest for the height of Jones’ high-strung vocals. It’s so addictive that the ending salvo is almost disappointing.

“Half Poison, Half Pure” is languid in comparison, with still-tense vocals but calmer instrumentation. Jones has said that the title is meant to represent being at a turning point, with any outcome still possible. Similarly, these two songs together each form half of a representative universe of Jones’ sound. Elsewhere, “Hammer Falls” showcases Jones’ voice gorgeously before things build back into a live version of “The Games”, which provides enough jangly variety to sound like a remix.

Jones’ third solo release sees him doing what he does best: making nervy, enchanting music, this time with friends. He’s one of the secret charms of Michigan’s indie scene, with wit and charm to spare. Give his indie-rock adventure a spin before anyone tries to tempt him into selling out.

Essential Tracks: “The Games We Used to Play” (both versions) and “Hammer Falls”

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