Jono McCleery's 2011 album, 'There Is' announced him as one of the brightest lights in an emergent crop of artists bringing soul-tinged vocals and beautiful songwriting to electronic music. If he has something in common with Jamie Woon and James Blake, he also truly stands apart. There's his voice for one thing, an utterly convincing, blue-eyed soul delivery worthy of Steve Marriott. Somehow uplifting and introspectively atmospheric all at once, it soars effortlessly over his equally timeless productions. 'There Is' was once described at "Miles Davis, Massive Attack, John Martyn, Fink and Radiohead wrapped up in one exquisitely produced album," and we couldn't have said it better ourselves.
'Fire in my Hands' is his return single, a collaboration with electronic producer Royce Wood Junior. It's a stunning evolution in McCleery's sound; a rapid fire, skittering drum beat and blues piano driving an fathoms-deep vocal. Its musing delivery belies the developing sense of resolve, and the song leaves the listener's mood curiously but profoundly improved.
The package is completed with 'Painted Blue,' a timeless soul number with a swaying, elemental melody and a harmonised chorus that would have the most celebrated soul diva turning green. It's difficult to imagine a more exciting return, the effortlessness of which marks Jono out as one of 2013's best prospects.
"Jono's music is timeless. Music that is unperishable, that reflects past, present and future in an instant. Likened to having the melodies and rich vocals of John Martyn, the darkness of Nick Drake, the soul of Marvin Gaye and the romantic indulgence of Jeff Buckley; Jono is defining a new folk/soul sound of our time."