Fireworks

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Jon Mullane - 'Shift' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/9e/18/b8/735_JonMullaneShift_1287694083.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     October 21, 2010    
 
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Aimed purely at the Canadian pop market.

I was sent this CD by our esteemed editor for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a Canadian artist, and secondly, it’s produced by Harem Scarem drummer Creighton Doane and features both Doane and his former bandmate Pete Lesperance. I was under the impression that Jon Mullane was a singer I wasn’t familiar with, which would be unusual for a guy of his age from my beloved Canadian music scene, but as soon as I heard his voice I realised that he’s actually the artist formerly known as Jonathan M.

Based in the Eastern city of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Mullane has changed direction a little since his early work and actually released an album under this name a couple of years ago that I hadn’t heard about. With both Mullane and Doane covering most of the guitars and all of the bass, keyboards, drums and vocals, ‘Shift’ is a well produced modern pop-rock album that’s undeniably Canadian in origin. Jon has a deeper and raspier voice these days that sounds not unlike Michael Hutchence, and in fact it’s INXS who opener ‘Make You Move’ most reminds me of with it’s sleazy upbeat groove, although a lot of the album has more keyboard parts and fuzzy guitars than this, the likes of ‘Got It Goin’ On’ and ‘Sin City’ mixing the style of Harem Scarem’s Rubber alter ego with modern day synth pop.

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The album has ten short songs based on simple ideas and unfussy instrumentation, in fact the solo on ‘Sin City’ is a rarity and the only thing I can say for sure that Pete Lesperance actually plays. For me personally most of the best bits are in the second half with Mullane sounding especially strong on the excellent ballad ‘The One That Got Away’ and the memorable choruses of ‘Change Your Life’ and ‘Go The Distance’, along with a dance version of ‘Make You Move’ which works particularly well.

If I have a problem with this album it’s that the sound is sometimes a bit fuzzy, like it’s been mastered too loud or something, and there are times when it all sounds a little bit too twee, like the annoying gang vocals on ‘Here We Go’ or the repetitive ‘You Get What You Get’. More guitar would have been nice too but I get the feeling this is aimed purely at the Canadian pop market. If that’s the case then they’ve probably succeeded.

Phil Ashcroft

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