Jonathan Bree’s been wearing a mask for a long time. The white balaclava he wears on stage seems to maintain an aura of mystery. One might think it acts more as a mirror to our own moods. With an almost paradoxical turn, his bittersweet ditties, here gorged with the pangs of involuntary solitude, get straight to the point, against a background of music that sometimes tends dangerously towards candy pop (consider the syrupy “Kiss my Lips”), in a totally controlled way. Coquettish, his music avoids pretences.
All his expressive and aesthetic qualities are present on this fourth album The tracks of this decent melodist follow one another organically, all nourished by the same soil, but without any feeling of repetition. His baritone voice still serves his pleasantly offbeat crooner persona as well capably as ever. The pieces are made of fine orchestrations, with strings taking precedence, very ’60s drums, set with gently wriggling guitar, and not without more experimental impulses. Bree knows how to surround himself with feminine voices, a perfect complement to his musical merry-go-round. In the mix here are his former colleague from the now-defunct The Brunettes, Princess Chelsea, another long-time collaborator, Crystal Choi, as well as Britta Phillips.
While the music magnifies, the lyrics take more sombre turns. They take us back to past summer loves, with the female chorus evoking the beloved of the time (“Heavenly Vision”), to the differences between friends due to childlessness (“Children”), to the hazards of singlehood, between promiscuity and loneliness. In any case, love abounds in this comfortable languor, and we crave its restorative melancholy. An album of complex, dreamlike and uncomplicated pop. This clever mix gives us the measure of his talent.