While many listeners possibly know Californian-born vocalist/producer Chelonis R. Jones best as the vocalist and co-writer of Royksopp’s ’49 Percent’s single, he’s also an extremely prolific solo artist in his own right, with a backcatalogue of around 80 singles to his name on labels including Get Physical and Systematic. Now based in Europe, he’s also an established painter and visual artist, with his earliest 12â€ releases coming housed in sleeves constructed from original canvas prints fashioned by the artist. In the wake of 2009’s Chatterton, this fourth album The Prison Buffet sees Jones offering up a characteristically flamboyant electro-pop collection that fuses his eccentric and frequently barbed lyrics with a dark muscular rhythmic pulse that’s noticeably touched by classic Chicago house and electro influences.
Opening track ‘(Non)sense’ sets the scene with one of this album’s more downbeat offerings, as Jones’ spoken word monologue describes the story of a runaway girl lost in LA against brooding synth-strings and shuffling cymbals, before ‘Pinwheel Piaf’ launches things straight out into crisp, throbbing tech-house, the relentlessly squelching sub-bass nicely counterpointing Jone’s soaring falsetto soul vocals. If there are occasional echoes of Matthew Dear’s more recent vocal-centred work here or perhaps even Green Velvet, they’re particularly brought out amidst the bleeping analogue synths and vampy tech-house stylings of ‘The Irritant (Brain Damage Club)’, while elsewhere ‘Dark Twain’ sees things entering more pop-centred waters as live drums and stripped-back analogue synths combine with Jone’s New Wave centred vocal to generate an atmosphere that’s not dissimilar to Hot Chip’s sheeny melancholy. Twisted, yet simultaneously classy.