Earlier this year, NYC-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jonny Polonsky released a single in the magnetic shape of The Weeping Souls. Whilst capturing the imagination it hinted that his forthcoming new album would be a myriad of temptation and now here Kingdom of Sleep has more than lived up to the suggestion.
The album is the sixth from Polonsky within his 23 years as a solo artist. His first album, Hi My Name is Jonny was released in 1996 with the last, Fresh Flesh, coming out in 2018; both as his releases in between no strangers to attention and acclaim. That time has also seen Polonsky collaborate with the likes of Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond, Maynard James Keenan, Tom Morello and Donovan, and form and play in the short-lived Big Nose with Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave). Kingdom of Sleep is the striking new adventure in his creative journey, a release self-produced by the artist and mixed and mastered by Mike Tholen (Chris Connelly, Revolting Cocks).
The album opens with Ghost Like Soul, a track featuring the spoken words of Cedric Bixler-Zavala of At the Drive-In/The Mars Volta fame. Immediately a crepuscular radiance envelops ears, keys and vocals a shadow wrapped seduction as an eighties synth pop essence spices the growing charm and touch of the track, Polonsky’s imagination and craft embracing a mist of various hues in the song’s haunting breath. From start to finish ears and imagination were transfixed, the song only increasing its evocative suggestion and presence by the minute.
The following Sign In the Window instantly reveals its indie pop instincts, the opening short choppy riffs of guitar quickly joined by Polonsky’s ever magnetic tones. In turn a melodic sparkle breaks as just as radiant keys brew their own magnetism within the increasingly infectious encounter. There is a bright Frank Black meets James Cook essence to the song which only adds to its catchiness before The Weeping Souls once more had ears and attention hooked. Again temptation is immediate, guitar and voice colluding in a rich lure draped in a seventies/eighties suggestion of indie pop offering up echoes of bands such as T-Rex, XTC and Love and Rockets.
Openly Polonsky’s songwriting is matched by his imagination and craft in strength and virulence, next up No Tears proving the suggestion with its individual mix of electronic and indie pop within an emotion soaked serenade. It too shares the instinctive catchiness which springs from every track within the album, its gentle sway and emotive intimacy no restraint to an inherent contagiousness as epitomised one again within the following Take Me Home. A darker climate hugs ears straight away; its breath almost claustrophobic but the evocative mist across a melodic crystal at the song’s heart springing psych nurtured sonic sighs. Fascination leaks from every note and syllable, keys and vocals the source of rich temptation within the track’s equally potent atmospheric haunting.
You Turn Me On simply charmed the senses next while the Aenerone broke upon ears like a dew blessed melodic sunrise; both tracks absorbing pieces of infection loaded emotive pop woven with originality and undisguised passion. As within most tracks within Kingdom of Sleep there is a mercurial essence adding a suggestion of contrasting emotions or intensity, a drama which only escalates their captivation.
The album ends with A Willing Eye, an acoustic hearted, electronically escalated seduction which maybe took longer to seduce than others before it but with its thick drama and web of irresistible sounds grew to enthral and set another firmly memorable moment within the similarly fascinating release.
Kingdom of Sleep is an album which had us hooked and absorbed from pretty much its first breath but inescapably so with every subsequent listen so we can only recommend you run the rewarding risk of ensnarement too.
Kingdom of Sleep is released May 11th via Ghostworks Recordings; available@ https://jonnypolonsky.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 09/05/2020
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