Its been some time in the making, but Howard Jones' latest collection of songs does not disappoint. In some respects, these 10 beautifully written, produced (Robbie Bronniman), arranged and performed songs seem a million miles away from Jones' 80s hit music. But to Jones fans, he has always remained entirely consistent in his artistry. He always writes about something relevant and meaningful - not in riddles, just plain talking. And he always writes a great tune - the melody is always central in a Jones song.
These 10 songs are consistent in their use of instruments - just vocals, piano, strings, drums and guitar (Robin Boult). Every song speaks of the attention to detail that has gone into the arrangement.
The highlights of the album are when Jones is most intimate, and echoing the classic Hide and Seek and Noone is to Blame, strips the song down to deliver something very special. Fight On and Soon you'll Go are classics of our time. But there are more upbeat moments, and Straight Ahead (the album opener), Say it Like You Mean It and Collective Heartbeat cannot fail to make you feel positive and upbeat.
Howard Jones is an artist the modern day music industry would do well to recognise. Since he lost his label deal in the early 90s, he has been touring, writing and communicating with his die hard audience. Technology has helped him achieve this,and to demonstrate that there is more to making music than XFactor.
Speaking of which, backing vocals on the album are beautifully performed soley by X Factor reject Daniel Pearce. It is typical of Jones to be working and encouraging a clearly talented young artist in the making.
This album deserves a much wider audience than it will probably get, but this Ordinary Hero will keep Fighting On , Straight Ahead!