Using big riffs, thought-provoking lyricism and inspired bass and drum chaos that spills out of our speakers on every possible occasion, Jonathan execute their finest work yet in To Hold, their latest album due to be released in March. Though it isn’t devoid of chest-beating rock anthems rooted in old school brawn and brute force (the opening trio of “Way to Go,” “Seasons” and “Something to Cry About” satiate such lusts), To Hold is as postmodern as Jonathan have ever taken their musicality, and it exhibits the intricacies within their sonic profile far better than anything else has before. To Hold is a patient record; it doesn’t sear its way into our hearts with a lot of excessive guitar solos, overstated choruses or breakdown beats – instead, it chips away at us verse by verse in a swanky, surreal wallop of guitar distortion that only grows thicker with every track. Some songs like “Monkeys” and “Gone” toy with us ever so pendulously, only to drag us asunder in their stunning, muscular vortexes of sound. This is a beast of an LP if I’ve heard one in the last ten years, and it definitely belongs on your stereo this month.
The lyrics that spike “Wake up Call” and “I Don’t Mind” with passion are riddled with a sincerity that isn’t as common in modern pop music as it once was in the past, but they aren’t throwback tracks by any stretch of imagination. Their arrangements are sublimely psychedelic, and while realized in equally unusual manners, they have the same textured finish that other songs like “I Never Meant to Be There” and the timeless “Seasons” do. Tonality is of upmost importance to Jonathan, and they make that abundantly clear on To Hold, both in the organic sound of their instruments and in the way that they chose to mix all of this material. The songs are well-bonded together, but they could easily be broken up into individual singles and have just as big an impact for Jonathan as they do as an anthological work in this neatly-packaged LP. That’s hardly the case for 99% of the band’s closest rivals, but then again, nothing about this group is average.
Jonathan combine old fashioned, angelic post-punk with cutting edge pop/rock of a modern persuasion in To Hold, and the results that they yield are top shelf to put it mildly. I’ve been following this band for a little while now, and though they’ve yet to let me down in any of their studio output thus far, this record is a solid cut above anything that I could have expected them to release this year. To Hold is a multifaceted, wickedly hypnotizing LP that begs for repeat listens and just won’t take no for an answer, and even though 2019 is likely going to see some of the biggest and most influential releases that we’ve seen in the last decade from any genre, I don’t think it’s too early to say that this record is one of the unequivocal gems. Jonathan keep on hitting that sweet spot in their music, and from where I sit, they don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.