Review: Kelly Jones Comes Home From His War

What praise is there left to give to Welsh singer-songwriter Kelly Jones? The vocalist and lyricist of Stereophonics, who penned the groundbreaking album Word Gets Around, just last June released a studio album with his solo venture, Far From Saints, which was deeply rooted in country music, featuring Texas band The Wind + The Wave. Although he’s been teasing a reunion with his legendary rock band for quite some time, we are surprised to hear about a new, true solo Kelly Jones album; only the artist’s second. Only The Names Have Been Changed was released in 2006 and featured songs cut and riffed from Stereophonics recording sessions. One of the most instantly recognisable and powerful rock voices, Inevitable Incredible sees Jones replace the guitar for a piano with self-reflective lyrics sprinkled with hope and wonder.

(c) Ignition Records, Peachalabama Ltd

There were no expectations for how the songs should sound. Just let the emotion and vulnerability I put into writing those songs come to life. The weather could change in a minute and there was little to no contact with the outside world. All this influenced how the songs came to be. It was a truly cathartic experience. I feel like I left it all out there on these songs. – Kelly Jones, NME

A label-mate of Kelly, Noel Gallagher, recently said that he canceled an album full of acoustic songs, claiming the energy was too depressing.

I was so bored with the kind of slow pace of it all and, actually what made me think, right **** it, I’m not doing it. It was too down. Acoustic tunes tend to be quite down. – Noel Gallagher, Matt Morgan Podcast

Inevitable Incredible struggles heavily from this. The title track is a slow trudge through Jones’ powerful inflection and beautiful string arrangement. “Turn Bad Into Good” takes that same energy and expands upon it. It’s more hopeful in tone and builds like a climactic movie scene. It’s worth noting that the lyrics on these tracks are absolutely incredible as well. However, by track three, “Time’s Running Away“, the tones, styles, and energy start blending together into one big sad story.

“Echowrecked” comes in at the halfway point and absolutely redeems the record. I have no clue how this was not the lead single. There is a bright hint of 60’s soul, but it keeps its orchestral style. “Lately I felt so scared inside/Who am I kidding/I felt like this my whole life/It’s a crime to say I’m alive” is the huge chorus line which is just the right amount of heartbreaking. This track worked very well for me, and of course, Jones sounds absolutely great.

(c) James D. Kelly, Ignition Records, Peachalabama Ltd

The rest of the record returns to soul-searching, which is simply too much of a good thing. Once again, Jones might be one of my favorite rock poets. “May I Come Home From War” is particularly great in this regard. I simply struggle to see what the overarching message of the record is. Sometimes, it feels like Inevitable Incredible turns into an ad for the Calm app.

The record sounds big, and it’s undoubtedly impressive that Jones can switch from rock to country and now to these orchestral-based, gospel-esque tunes. However, Inevitable Incredible came out of nowhere and simply doesn’t work.

Put me in the front row for that Stereophonics reunion, but I would still welcome a new Kelly project any day. Can we just lighten the mood a bit?

Final Review: ★★★/5

Writer’s Highlights: “Echowrecked“, “Don’t Let The Devil Take Another Day (Film)

Purchase Inevitable Incredible here.

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