Coalesce the angelic vocals of Jon Anderson with the transcendental keyboard wizardry provided by Vangelis and you are guaranteed a unique experience.
'Short Stories', the duo's first studio effort, is a startling array of varied, celestial music. This album is certainly troublesome to pigeonhole into a specific genre, and this is indicative of its uniqueness.
This is the sort of music that will drift you off into some unconscious dreamland; it's relaxing, yet simultaneously electrifying. The album opener, 'Curious Electric', encapsulates this observation aptly: it soars like a dramatic movie score, whilst also floating along serenely. The track sets an impressive precedent for the rest of the album, and generally it doesn't disappoint.
Other highlights here include the most accessible song, 'I Hear You Now', which displays perfect harmony between the two musicians, whilst 'Each And Every Day/Bird Song' contains some beautiful moments, particularly the 'Bird Song' segment.
Unfortunately, the album is marred somewhat by the slightly drab nature of the later tracks. 'Far Away In Baghdad' plods along superfluously, and similarly, I consider 'Love Is' to be lamentably forgetful.
However, luckily, the album does not end on an anticlimactic, bathetic note. The closing track, 'Thunder/Play Within A Play', is a riveting, ineffable return to form for the duo, and provides a particularly satisfying ending to the proceedings.
Overall, this is an impressive debut from J&V, and one that will live long in the memories of both musicians' admirers. Any of these fans who are unaware of J&V should certainly invest in a copy of this, however newcomers may need time to adapt to such an unconventional set of short stories!