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on 30 April 2003
Stephen Jones is a legend. An uncut diamond in the rough. Throughout the 90s he produced five sparse, intimate and incredibly beautiful 4-track recorded albums which illustrated an eccentric, but ever so talented mind. Then he incorporated a full band sound, found fame for a while with his one major chart hit "You're Gorgeous". After releasing several albums under this ultimately unsatisfying 'big band' sound he has now eventually returned back to his lo-fi roots and lost the Baby Bird moniker with this - "Almost Cured of Sadness".
And it is a triumph. It succeeds in being a compromise between the sparse and eccentric, Casio keyboard sounds of his lo-fi albums and the more accomplished, guitar, drums, bass driven sound of his "big band" days. This is quite a strange idea as on the face of it there is little use of the standard band set-up, Jones mainly relying on samples, and the interwoven vocals that he mastered on the 4-track, that said there is a definite gulf between his early albums and this. A gulf in the sense that there is a lot more going on, a benefit of using an 8-track is that he has filled in the minimalist gaps that appeared on the darker "Fatherhood" and given greater depth without losing the atmosphere that was created.
Weighing in at 69 minutes with a whopping nineteen tracks, this is a pop epic in the purest of senses and the highlights come thick and fast. "Keys to Your Brain" is an eerie introduction to the world of the album, Jones' falsetto sounding childlike and disturbing in the manner only he can really do. This theme is continued throughout many of the early stages of the album with Jones' voice and the music providing a contrast to the often dark lyrical content, examples would be "Underneath the Rainbow" and "Friend".
As the album develops, Jones returns to a more natural octave and begins to shine even brighter. "Someplace Too Faraway", "Sitting In My Graveyard", "Jesus Freaks & Candy Asses" are all fantastically structured and beautifully carried out songs which rate among Jones' best, dealing with obtuse and surrealistic themes such as happily walking around in graveyards and barcodes on foreheads.
I am a massive fan of Baby Bird and more particularly Stephen Jones as a songwriter and musician. Talents like this don't come along very often, a man who is as accomplished writing a novel and developing artwork for his CDs as he is creating complex, surreal, intense and intimate recordings. Give him a chance and reap the rewards.
A must buy.
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on 4 March 2003
So Baby bird are no more, but Stephen Jones was Baby Bird long before they were a band, his early albums recorded in a gloriously low - fi way, were in many ways the best ( I for one enjoyed their rough edges ). The 'band' albums that followed were always great, but perhaps missed some of the intamacy of his earlier recordings fleshed out as they were with a bigger guitar sound and a sprinkling of polish.
So Im' happy to see Jones back on his own with his trusty eight track tape recorder, but has the sound changed?... well yes it has, it still has Jones's trademark bitter/sweet lyric's, but there are more samples and beats and some strange voices lurking in the background, but all this combines to give the album a more intense, lush feel than any of it's predecessors. Jones sings in his falsetto voice for almost all of the first half of the album, before reverting to his 'normal' voice now and again. This album grows and grows with repeated listenings, but 'Jesus freaks and candy asses' is a classic example of what makes Jones so great, a chirpy little tune but offset against some twisted lyrics - great stuff.
If you liked the old low -fi stuff then this is almost certainly for you, but if you only know Baby Bird for 'Your'e Gorgeous' it probably won't be your'e cup of tea. A fine album, worth the wait since Jones's last!.
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VINE VOICEon 6 March 2003
Once more I had been in an expectant dizzy thrill for a week or so before the new stephen jones album. I had prayed and prayed for another record crammed with the pop songwriting genius so often displayed on his other records and so on receiving my copy from amazon and pressing the jewel case to my lips I put the cd in my player and feasted my ears.
I danced...I laughed...I sat down on my bed for the sad songs, and yes, truly stephen has done it again...a monster pop epic.
For the conossieur I can say that it harks back to the days of bad shave and the happiest man alive in style, very sparse but also very full sounding...?. And the tunes ooh the tunes
Under the rainbow
My girlfriend killed jesus
Beautiful, magical heartstopping pop...But then I would say that wouldn't I, You'll just have to trust me...
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on 20 February 2010
Baby Bird is back on the lo-fi branch, tweeting and twirling to his heart's content, playing within his avante garden with his whistles, bells, tape machines and samples, singing unfeasibly high, and sounding just great, thank you very much. The nightmare of commercial success behind him, this gorgeous individual is letting his inspiration and his nursery rhyme melodies and sensibility take his music to a higher plain, one where music lovers dwell and the unwary are snared by his infectious cymbalism. Back on top, with a vengeance and unafraid to be known by his real name as this is the real deal. Enough waffle, just play it. Keep going, Stephen, you're doing well, old son.
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on 11 March 2012
Babybird is one thing. this solo jaunt is another. I like rice, but dont eat it everyday. Somedays I want pasta or potatoes.
Yes its kind of Lo-Fi, but still has layers of created and found sounds bouncing from the background to the foreground.
Similar themes of sunshine & rainbows versus graveyards & shadows emerge with a more falsetto vocal to his usual babybird voice.

Favourite track Qualudes.
I have 2 versions of this LP. This one with the interludes on it, the other is a promo with no interludes but more songs. I like them both equally. Sometimes Im in the mood for rice sometimes pasta. Vive La Difference (as they dont say in Sheffield)
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on 10 March 2003
If you are looking to relive those great Britpop moments Baby Bird provided in the mid-nineties, steer clear of this album. There is no band on it (all music done by Jones himself) and doesn't resemble his former band in any way. Every track sounds like Alvin & the Chipmunks trying to cover a Boards of Canada song. You have been warned!
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