Artist: Laney Jones
Album: Laney Jones
Release Date: 03/11/2016
At just 24 years old, Florida-based indie folk-rock singer-songwriter Laney Jones has carved herself a promising musical career. In the five years she’s been active, she has racked up achievements like playing alongside legendary performer Alison Krauss, winning the acclaimed John Lennon Songwriting Contest, performing at master classes by invitation, and licensing original tracks for Disney and Dreamworks. Though her resume is already heavy with success, Jones isn’t stopping anytime soon. For her eponymous sophomore record, she challenges herself by experimenting with new tones unlike her typical twang, but equally effective and at serious risk of the replay button.
Laney Jones has the young artist extending her musical style to include not just folk but pop, rock, and blues-y jazz too. The result is a whirlwind of sounds we know and love but didn’t know Jones had mastered yet. She proves us wrong with vocals at times sugary and at times ghostly. The lyrics remind us of her talents as a songwriter but the constantly changing multi-instrumental melodies insist she is more than her words.
The ukulele-based opening track, “Do What You Want”, feels like a dream. Wispy melodies make way for Jones’ soft vocals until a pulsating rhythm adds a richness to the last half of the track. Next is “Allston (Dance Around)”, one of several singles released in anticipation for the record, and so far the most well-received. The track has an indie-pop vibe with addictive hooks, high-powered instrumentation, and a type of youthful nostalgia we didn’t know we were missing. Other standouts on the album include “Troubled Mind”, which brings us back to Jones’ folk roots with anticipatory instrumental interludes, and “Firewalk”, the deliciously eerie track full of deep beats and dreamy vocals. Though every track seems to have Jones getting better and better, nowhere on the album is her songwriting talent more apparent than with “Bad Luck Charm”, singing heavy lyrics like “Maybe we’re just star-crossed lovers/Blessed with a curse we’re bound to discover’s a sign/Don’t need you to be mine if I’m causing you trouble”. The cynical lyrics perfectly depict the ebb-and-flow, push-and-pull of young love (but if we’re being honest: any love at all).
The only problem with Laney Jones is that there are only ten songs. Lucky for us, they are packed with power, teeming with lush melodies, sincere songwriting, and rounded, riveting rhythm. On her sophomore record, Laney Jones proves that she is in this for the long haul. She may be young but she questions philosophy with both her lyrics and her music with a sophistication usually reserved for veterans of the industry. Tackling relevant subjects like youth and growing up by mixing Millennial viewpoints with a retro sound, Jones manages to craft an album designed for the past, present, and future. When the future does come, we can only imagine what kinds of wonderful music Laney Jones will come up with next.