It’s not uncommon for random musicians to send me a personal friend request on Facebook. Usually, if I have enough friends in common, I’ll accept it. I’m not, however, always aware of their music or what they are offering. Jon sent me a request about a year ago, and while I was aware that an album was forthcoming, it was more in my subconscious than anywhere else. Jon’s new album “On” released on April 2nd, and it has proven to be a bit of an earworm.
Jon hails from Denmark, and his project is officially dubbed “Jon Pold Synergy”. Jon himself is a vocalist and bassist, and a damn good one, at that. He also handles some guitar, trumpet, and programming. This album features several guests, too, including: Henrik Borlev on piano, synth, and accordion; Kristian Uhre and Mads Klinke on drums; Rasmus Krøyer, Thomas Nielsen, and Lasse Berg on guitars; and Sara Weeda, Laura Pold, Tatiana Grant on backing vocals. As you can see, this is quite a group of musicians.
Jon clearly channels the experimentation and pop sensibilities of some of the greats, such as Peter Gabriel. His music is lush and highly melodic, but never gets too safe or derivative. The overall sound rides the line between rock and pop, displaying edge when it should, and restraining itself appropriately, too. You will also hear some funk tendencies, especially the funk from the 80s and 90s. The music offers plenty of powerful bass, sincere vocal melodies, bluesy notes, and wonderful choruses. Jon adds all kinds of accents and subtle bits that really elevate the sound, too. This album feels absolutely soaked in elements from the 70s through the 90s, and it is all the better for it.
Jon’s voice has character and gravity. You really will believe what he’s telling you, and he tells us quite a bit about all kinds of things, from racism to misogyny. One thing that really stands out in addition to his voice is the fantastic bass. Jon lays down bass lines that define each song, essentially, giving breath and weight to them, and the rest of the musicians play to the bass as their leader.
There is definite variety on this album. You’ll hear songs that get your knees bouncing (“The Wheel”), songs that are slower and more atmospheric (“Hush”), instrumentals (#45), and even duets (“Hold Me”). You will hear songs that are more philosophical in approach, but also emotional love songs. It truly feels like something that a sultan of pop in the 70s would have put together.
I have four songs that I have marked as my favorites. Discussing our current lack of heroes in this day and age, “When Gods Die” is a great song that will definitely get stuck in your head. The title track itself is an addictive, highly melodic affair with lots of 90s accents and real groove. It feels divine. “#45” is a wonderful instrumental track with personality and bassy ambition. It is fairly simple in some ways, but you will notice more and more going on as you hear it more. “Synergy, Part 3” is an honest and candid ending to the album. It leaves you feeling whole, somehow, after such an energetic album.
Jon has a strong debut on his hands. “On” is fun to hear, but will keep you coming back for more. The lyrics are well written and address important subjects, but the music never becomes an afterthought. I hope we can hear even more from Jon in the future.
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