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The ultimate version of Doubt that still leaves you wanting more
on 10 December 2014
Jesus Jones Doubt (Expanded Edition)
The packaging: put simply this package has been done with a lot of care & to a high standard. Over the last few years some of the Deluxe issues released by various record labels have been truly awful when it comes to packaging. Example (The Levellers Deluxe versions) CDs were released over 2 discs & with a bonus DVD all within cardboard packaging that was ruined in no time. Inserts that wouldn’t come out, CDs that ripped the cardboard when removed. These packages were not designed to be used repeatedly & all that could be done was rip the CDs to an mp3 format to save the packaging.
Thankfully these are not problems when it comes to the Jesus Jones Deluxe/Expanded editions. Each album is presented like a hard back book with a nice spine that’s sturdy & built to last. Inside there is original album notes as well as new notes from Iain Baker of the band. There is artwork for the various singles as well as small notes from Iain about certain tracks. I would have like to have seen a little more info on songs (regarding recording or how the guys felt about certain songs when played live) but it’s a minor issue. Doubt has song lyrics included which Liquidizer didn’t & I have no idea why that is but as a package it’s hard to fault
Doubt: there really isn’t much to say about the album that hasn’t already been said. It’s dated incredibly well & stripped still kicks ass as much as it did upon release in 1991 (so much so that it blew my dad’s car speakers when we tried to play it loud back in the day). I fell in love with Jesus Jones after hearing Who?, Where?, Why? on the chart show & was blown away by how different the album was to anything I had ever heard. I was brought up on rock music & mainly listen to rock/metal so a whole world of remix’s & dance based tunes was brought to my ears by Jesus Jones.
Disc 1 has the full album doubt plus an extra 9 tracks clocking in at 75 minutes total. All of these tracks have been released before on albums or different formats of singles. Personally I own everything already on disc one but they are worth listening to.
The 1st 2 extra songs (tracks 12/13) are Move Me & Are You Satisfied?, both of these songs featured on the Right Here, Right Now EP released in the UK & on the Japanese release of Doubt. They are both likeable tracks & Move Me has a sample that just screeches out of the speakers like something that’s in agony. Are You Satisfied? is just a straight up JJ song that ended up being inserted onto the US release of the album.
The next 4 tracks (tracks 14-17) are straight up remixes from when 12” mixes were actually parts of the original song mixed together to make something different. On to the remixes. 1st up is Real, Real, Real (Raw 12”Mix) this song bounces along with some different drum patterns & sounds like there are tonnes of ideas wanting to come out all at once. The mix does sound pretty raw which lives up to it’s name. Right Here, Right Now (Martyn Phillips 12”) is next. This is a great remix that slowly draws you in on a bed of Bass, samples & drums before jumping into the main chorus about 90 seconds in. There’s loads of guitar in this mix & the remix finishes where it begins with the Intro being used as an outro of sorts with extra guitar over the top. The following remix is IBYT 12 this mix is very dance oriented & to be honest if it wasn’t done by Jesus Jones I’d probably hate it but there are some great samples & so much going on in this song that almost 20 years later I can hear new things that I haven’t heard before (might have something to do with having better stereo equipment than my 13 year old self had). The last remix is Who?, Where?, Why? (12 foot mix) this mix is the total opposite of IBYT in that there is less going on & due to that it works really well. Most Jesus Jones fans should be able to spot the sample the band used themselves for the song Spiral which ended up on Perverse.
The last 3 tracks on disc one are Welcome Back Victoria (DNA Orchestral mix), Dead People’s Lives & Barry D Next To Cleanliness. Let’s look at Welcome Back Victoria 1st this is really different & starts with an acoustic guitar & whistling before Mike starts singing accompanied by an orchestra. If I am honest when I was a kid I thought it was pretty shit as it wasn’t rocking enough for me, now I’m older I can actually appreciate what is being done. The orchestra definitely adds another colour to the song & I doubt that this could be done with many of their songs. Next up Dead People’s Lives, this is one of the best songs that never made it to an album. It’s catchy as hell & has Iain doing a rap. I would have loved to have heard them do this live & it’s still a highlight of this disc. The Last track is Barry D Next to Cleanliness, I had no idea what this was all about in 1991 & to be honest I still don’t. I can only guess Mike & Iain had a few too many energy drinks before coming up with this track. It sounds like it has 4 songs grafted together to make one sort of track but it’s still fun to listen to all the bizarre samples.
Disc 2 : 19 tracks lasting roughly 70 mins
Tracks 1-10 are a mixture of Remixes & B-sides, Starting with IBYT (Phil Harding 12” mix) this is a cracking mix of this song that lets you hear parts that kind of get lost in the album version due it being shorter. Who?, Where?,Why? (The Crisis 12” mix) the 7” version of this song was the 1st song I ever heard of Jesus Jones & this remix is basically an extended mix of the single mix. It’s a shame that the 7” single version is not on this album as there was space enough to fit it on here but who knows if it’ll turn up in the future on some other release. Right Here, Right Now (Dean Krexa mix) is up next & to be honest for me this has to be one of the worst remix’s that has been released associated with Jesus Jones. It sounded bad back in 1991 when I 1st heard it with some truly awful funk guitar to it & it hasn’t dated well at all. This is the 1st time this mix has been committed to cd & hopefully it’ll be the last. I’m not going to let this song pull down my overall review of this package as for completist ‘s like me it’s nice to have it on a cd even if it really is that bad. Thankfully after that we get back to another track from the RHRN sessions the track is called Damn Good At This & it picks up the pace with some great guitar work by Mike & Jerry along with some sort of sample that sounds like it’s bouncing all over the room & out of the speakers. There is a really nice orchestral breakdown that appears before it bounces back into the track again. Maryland is up next a track from the IBYT single which is really very catchy with a great beat & another personal highlight of mine from the Jesus Jones back catalogue. This was recorded during a time when the band were constantly being pushed for extra tracks for singles & amongst the fan base some of the most popular songs are the ones which weren’t on any album.
The next 2 remixes are for me where things become slightly tedious when it comes to remixes. There isn’t really anything wrong with IBYT (Chaos mix) & Who?, Where?, Why? (Chaos mix) I would have just preferred some more live tracks as I feel that is where Jesus Jones truly excelled. However I don’t know what the copyright issues may have been regarding getting hold of live tracks or what the budget was so I can only re-view what is here. Any way IBYT (Chaos mix) retains all the vocal & a lot of the guitar work so it doesn’t sound too bad. Who?, Where?, Why? (Chaos mix) is a totally different beast retaining only the vocal to make a totally different take on this song. Being a rock fan at times it is hard for me to relate to some of these mixes but liking Jesus Jones meant that at times you were going to get the occasional mix that you just didn’t get & even if I didn’t get it I heard different things which isn’t always a bad thing.
The next 3 songs are songs which didn’t make it on to doubt. Need To Know is a bit of a weird song for Jesus Jones as there is very little guitar work here at all & it’s built on a lot of weird samples that are really hard to describe as well as a lot of drums. This song is from the IBYT single and does glide along without ever really going anywhere. Caricature is Jesus Jones best known B-side & it’s been played live almost constantly since it was written what we have here is the version that was re-recorded for the Japanese release of Perverse. It’s a great track & it’s easy to see why the band love playing this live. If you want the original it’s pretty easy to track down on the Who?, Where?, Why? single. The last of the 3 tracks is Kill Today taken from the Who?, Where?,Why? single, Kill Today is a real short slow punchy track that sounds pretty menacing & gets it’s point across fairly easily.
We then have a real oddity amongst this release a remix of Who?, Where?, Why? (called the 1997 remix). This mix was actually done by Phil Harding & Ian Curnow back in 1991 but lay hidden for many years until it turned up by accident on The Next Big Thing single in 1997. The band didn’t even realise it had been released & as not many people bought this single it passed many people by un-noticed until 3 years ago. I uploaded the track onto you tube as I was convinced I has stumbled across an unreleased unkown mix of the song & sent the link to Iain from the band who confirmed it was a new mix that he hadn’t heard shortly before finding the master tape himself. This so-called remix has the same feel as the IBYT album track that was mixed also by Harding & Curnow, I still think it’s the best version of this song out there as everything is clearer than on the album.
Now we reach the real interesting parts of the album the 4 tracks that no one has heard. 1st up we get Barry D #2 which apparently was played live a few times. This song has a feel of beat it down to it & re-uses the great chicken in your under ware sample. Next up is Janet (Real, Real, Real demo) this is an instrumental demo for the song & gives you the basic idea of what the track was at the beginning of the writing process. It’s always interesting to hear how much some songs change from demo form to final album cut. Following this we are treated another lost mix Real, Real, Real (Ben Chapman 7” mix) this is a pretty different version of the song & you can clearly hear a lot of the things that went into the 12” mix that was released. Lastly we have Crispin (12 track demo) this song is the instrumental demo version for Damn Good At This. What’s great about this track is as there are no vocals you can hear everything going on in the song. This track leaves you wanting to hear more instrumental songs as often with Jesus Jones there is so much going on that it can get lost in the mixing process.
The last four tracks on this cd are taken from a BBC Radio One Session, This is where Jesus Jones show how good they really are as a live band. With all the studio work stripped away these live songs are allowed to breathe & you can actually hear what is going on with Al on Bass & Gen on drums. IBYT sounds truly massive in this context as does Right Here, Right Now from this session. Someone To Blame is totally stripped back & sounds nothing like the Liquidizer version which is really chaotic, this version although quieter is equally as menacing. The Last track is Trust Me which just explodes out of the speakers & is over almost as soon as it’s begun all in under 2 mins. It’s the closest Jesus Jones come to a hardcore punk track & good way to end disc 2.
Doubt DVD : The Doubt DVD comes with a feast of Music videos, TV apperances, Interviews & Live tracks. Again by the end of this DVD you’ll be left craving for more of all of the above so lets look at what we do have on offer. 1st up are the videos for the singles the 1st of which is the UK version of Real, Real, Real which if you’ve probably seen on You Tube, MTV or god knows where so I’m not going to go on about it. The 2nd video is a real rare video that I can’t say I have ever seen it’s Real, Real Real (US 12”) I’ve seen the edited video of this on You Tube but not the 12” mix version. This video is quite good as you see a lot of Gen in it who mainly gets left in the background due to being sat at his drum kit.
The next 3 videos are all videos anyone who was familiar with doubt will know. IBYT, Who?, Where?, Why? & Right Here, Right Now. The videos have dated surprisingly well over time. The next 3 videos are all appearances from Top of the pops. We have Real, Real, Real, IBYT, & Who?,Where?, Why? These videos do seem dated but hey, it’s Top of the pops & for those of us that didn’t have Sky TV, this was our only exposure to Jesus Jones. You have to love the miming on these videos as well as watching Iain’s dancing. We then get a TV interview with Mike & Iain on Saturday morning kids show going live, this is something you’ll only end up watching once but even now you still end up wishing you were the lucky person to win all the prizes. Also from Going Live is a performance of IBYT mimed to perfection like nearly all TV shows.
For the DVD extra’s you also get a 30 second TV advert for Doubt which I can’t say I ever saw. There is also a 20 min promo interview with both Mike & Iain about the band history as well as the recording of songs on the album. I’m not sure if it’s the quality of the video footage but I swear Iain has serious amounts of make up on (If I’m wrong sorry Iain).
As with the Liquidizer DVD the best is saved till last. Again we have some live tracks from Mikes personal footage that leave you wishing there was some top quality footage out there with soundboard sound from this era. I was too young to attend these shows & had only heard the Town & Country club show on a Radio One live broadcast so this is great to finally see but makes me realise what I missed out on. The 1st live video is Two & Two, this video looks like it was shot from the camera pit in front of the barriers & it does give a different view with some great shots of Mike with his trusty Telecaster as well as Al head banging away like a possessed man. You simply cannot do anything other than smile at watching Mike go all guitar hero with his arms aloft facing his amp whilst his amp is feeding back as the song starts again. The sound is pretty good for a camcorder & doesn’t sound distorted at all.
The next video is I’m burning from the Town & Country Club. This video is shot from further back & shows more of the whole band again the sound is pretty good & you get to see lots of Iain running around the stage as well as a pretty good version of the song that ends up sounding better than on record. The best has really been saved till last as we are hit with a double whammy of Bring it on Down & Stripped. The energy levels during Bring it on Down are great with Iain, running riot, Jerry throwing guitar poses, Al Head banging, Gen pounding the hell out of his drum kit whilst Mike is all over the place. Mid song Bring it on Down gives way to Stripped (which was rarely played live). This sounds amazing & it’s all strobe lights & samples which really add to the effect of the song, during this point the band are just going mental. Eventually Bring it on Down returns & it’s high energy & lots of coloured lights all over the stage. This song would sound 10x better if the audio was from the Radio broadcast. Sadly just as you’re getting into the live tracks it stops & You’ll find yourself screaming at the screen in disbelief wanting more. I know they say leave your audience wanting more but this is pure torture for us fans.
To sum up this package: It’s a great look back at Jesus Jones most well-known album with lots of pictures, notes & unseen/unheard of tracks. Could there be more unreleased material? I don’t know. Could there have been 1 or 2 other remixes (that were released) thrown onto the cd’s to fill them up? Sure there could have been but then the Cd’s would have been in danger of becoming really mundane as who wants to hear 5 remixes of same song on same cd. Yes some of the remixes sound awfully dated & I would have liked more live tracks but as I didn’t put this package together my opinion doesn’t count.
With this package Jesus Jones have clearly left us wanting more & lets hope in time there is more to come from this era as there are many TV/Live performances floating around on You Tube. Apart from one awful remix this is a wonderful look back at a great time for Jesus Jones that brings back many great memories 10/10.