The Evolution will not Be Televised
Youâ€šÃ„Ã´ve probably heard some buzz humming around 4th Avenue Jones. Their new album, Stereo: The Evolution of Hiprocksoul, has been making waves on college radio and with appearances at SXSW. The Jones, however, is by no means new (believe it or not, I saw these guys about four years ago at a punk show! Out of place? Yeahhh, but their rendition of â€šÃ„ÃºTeen Spiritâ€šÃ„Ã¹ blew the roof off the Whiskey). Having once briefly flirted with success on a major label â€šÃ„Ã¬ an ill-fated experience â€šÃ„Ã¬ 4thAJ is back with a new record and a new sense of purpose.Just as the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s title suggests, Stereo is an amalgamation of sounds ranging from hip hop to rock to soul â€šÃ„Ã¬ a mix that flows better throughout the albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s latter half. Fronted by founder and lead vocalist Ahmad â€šÃ„ÃºBack in the Dayâ€šÃ„Â¶â€šÃ„Ã¹ Jones (yes, that Ahmad), 4thAJâ€šÃ„Ã´s lineup is as varied as the music they produce. This variety, with its ability to mix up fluid raps, soulful vocals, heavy guitars, and even a violin â€šÃ„Ã¬ all in the same song â€šÃ„Ã¬ is the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s greatest and most intriguing strength, yet at the same time, its Achilles heel.
Having seen them back in the day (no pun intended), and compared to older material, itâ€šÃ„Ã´s clear that while their artistic vision remains the same, their process has changed somewhat. Whereas their combination of hip hop and soul was once merely laced by doses of rock, the bandâ€šÃ„Ã´s new sound is drenched in pop-rock sensibilities (think new Black Eyed Peas). This said, expect Stereo to become a success, but letâ€šÃ„Ã´s hope that a band as creative as 4th Avenue Jones never loses its focus.