What would you do if you were blessed with a four octave vocal range? Royal Jones uses his to make some of the most off kilter, unique, and fractured funk and soul songs around. He cites Martha Reeves as a big influence and his vocals show an obsession with soul divas, but the New York City vibe of his music is light years away from the Motown Sound. It’s electronic funk music for dancing in the clubs, but possessed of a chilled out ghostliness at times that makes you wonder who let the trip-hop in the door.
Skip the intro cut and head straight for the title cut and you’re quickly swept up in a weird world that’s like a kissing cousin to the stuff that Antony & The Johnsons are doing. “Echo” has a sort of creepy bossa nova ambience perfect for this post-modern film noir world. I dig the guitar riff on “Ride Out Of Control” which sounds like it could have been sampled from a Sly And The Family Stone album even if the spoken lyrics are pretty silly. I hope silliness is the point of the song, “Pain Stain” with its paranoid diva shtick reminiscent of dancier Frank Zappa grooves. Royal Jones manages to sound like Asha Puti on “Love Like A Freak”, but I will admit that by the time this 9th song on the 11 song CD played I was beginning to get a little tired of his four octaves.
A little Royal Jones goes a long way. You Broke The Circle on MBIBE Records is well worth getting if you’re into strange dance music, but I Royal Jones would really shine and stand out if he started putting out 12 inch records. You can pick up some of his music either through his website or by visiting Amazon or CD Baby.