Stone Jack Jones – Love & Torture
If you’re in an old house at night and you’re walking past the bottom of the stairs, then don’t be listening to Stone Jack Jones’ new album. Because if you are and you happen to glance up, it’ll scare the bejaysus out of you. Full of slightly off-kilter arrangements, Love & Torture can be an unnerving listen, though it’s a highly rewarding one all the same. It’s hardly the first album to be built around songs about life and death, but this one has a particularly liminal quality to it. It’s not what you experience directly that’s the concern, it’s what you think your senses are telling you that’s unsettling. The glimpses out of the corner of your eye. The sounds you think you hear at night. But this is no horror film. There’s no melodramatic dénouement, even if the long instrumental conclusion to the penultimate song, ‘Who’, has the potential to hide a multitude of deadly sins. This is a study in songwriter psychology. And that’s scary enough. Stone Jack Jones has a remarkable back story and this is the second time that he’s drawn upon it to craft a compelling album. But Love & Torture is a step up from Ancestor, which was already well worth the entry fee. Featuring vocals from Patty Griffin on two tracks and an almost creepy cameo by Kurt Wagner on another, this has the feel of a fully realised project. A brush with death. A paean to life. Stone Jack Jones takes us to threshold of consciousness and back.