JONO – Requiem (2013)
I am in ecstasy.
This is the trance-like state you’ll be into after listening JONO’s debut album “Requiem”. These talented young guys from Island of Gotland, Sweden, have produced a wonderful, surprisingly mature piece of art here.
I am starting this review backwards, because I can’t recommend to you this album enough.
Jono’s music, vision and inspiration marry up the best of early Queen, Kansas and even Toto into a magical recipe that transcends any genre or classification.
But judging (and enjoying) their work limited to the aforementioned acts would be a tremendous injustice. This combo conducted by the impressive Johan Norrby takes the melodies, the gorgeous vocals arrangements and superbly clean musicianship of these classic bands and add to them their incredible good taste to build a unique blend into ‘songs’.
Yes, we are talking about songs here, but not your typical ones; “Requiem” is a perfect concoction of melodic progressive rock, melodic rock and elaborated rock&pop delivered with a freshness and originality rarely seen in the music business of today.
This is not avant-garde or experimental, on the contrary, these are pure melodic, uplifting, highly listeneable songs that does not stop to surprise you all the time.
Opening with the catchy (in its own terms) “I Was The One” were the pace, the deep bass and guitar work recalls Toto – but then in the middle a piano / vocal passage transports you to Queen circa ‘II’ – you know this album will be something special. Next, the cheerful “Jugment Day” is driven by a perfect, melodic refrain and an enviable musicality that oozes quality through and through.
And now “Letting Go” follows… Oh my… Freddie Mercury would be proud. This is simply an outstanding composition keyboard and vocal dominated with superb vocal inflections, confident instrumentation and a truly emotive feeling.
In the same vein we have the slightly progressive “Symphony” (with a terrific guitar work) and title track “Requiem”, all of them interspersed with uptempo and colourful numbers like the melodic rock of “Nothing” and the bouncing (and commercial) “Best Thing” which balance the album in a clever, intelligent form.
But Jono aren’t conformists at all, and as said, they surprise you again and again; “Dead Or Alive” is some kind of a sympho-prog number with strong guitar riff and a blasting solo, but with a pop melody, a trepidant yet clean tempo and epic vocals but not in the ‘grandiose’ way, I dare to say the singing is inspired in Broadway musicals… looks like a pastiche on paper, but believe me, the result is awesome.
For the end, another gift to the ears: the slow, velvety, almost sad “Love Again” is supreme. Subtle, ethereal instrumentation and heavenly vocals very much in the style of ‘My Melancholy Blues’ (Queen’s News Of The World).
Here’s where you need to go above, at the beginning of this review, and read what I think about JONO’s “Requiem”.
Seriously, get this album at any price.
01 – I Was The One
02 – Judgement Day
03 – Letting Go
04 – Nothing
05 – Symphony
06 – Best Thing
07 – Requiem
08 – Dead Or Alive
09 – Love Again
Johan Norrby – vocals, keyboards
Stefan Helleblad – guitar
John Carlgren – keyboards
Janne Henriksson – bass
Nicka Hellenberg – drums
BUY IT !