I was randomly scrolling a list of the “best releases in rock and metal for 2021” when I first saw the album cover. And I must admit that I thought it was a mistake. Between the pose, the outfit and the typography, I first thought it was an independent rap album. And I figured that because the rock/rap mix is coming back in trend and that it’s much better that in was in the 2000s, I might as well go and check out “Take Me Away”, might be fun.
And that is when I took a UFC level beating in three phases. Phase 1: the introduction. It’s heavy and thick, dripping with dirt, smelling like concrete and filled with lust for life. Phase 2: the voice. His singing just slays, nothing else to say, this man possesses an extremely high levelof emotion and incredibly powerful attacks with just enough melody ot elevate his lines to the next level. Phase 3l: the composition. It alternates powerful choruses, softer but angrier verses and a perfect management of intensity.
After that first track, listening to the whole album was a no brainer.
From the get-go, “Child Of The State” suffers from one small problem : it’s impossible to know where AYRON JONES is leading us to. The listener faces a tsunami of inspirations, influences and ideas that can submerge and exhaust them, due to the focus required to pay a close attention to it.
Despite that explosion of styles and atmospheres which mix and stack on top of each other, the record is incredibly coherent, thanks to a very part of it: at his core, AYRON JONES is a bluesman. It’s obvious as soon as you look into his guitar technique. While never being particularly demonstrative and never shredding, his focus is to maximize the impact of his riffs and parts by making sure he always plays on transitions and dynamics. It becomes apparent on the calmer side of the album, like “Take Your Time” or “My Love Remains”. And once that part is understood, the storm dissipates and lets us all admire the artistic approach. Because the Seattle native has one goal: to dynamite the labels and styles to create his own identity while tightly driving that common thread.
Because of his mastery of the basics, he can afford to infuse them with pop, soul, elements of funk, heavy metal and a heavy dose of gunge. I mean, the main riff for “Emily” is pure BLACK SABBATH, “Supercharged” is probably the song that makes me think of LENNY KRAVITZ, while “Mercy” is the ultimate meeting of ALICE IN CHAINS and MICHAEL JACKSON.
The writing is straightforward and hits very hard, because it plays on contrasts and variations. The most perfect example of this is “Spinning Circles” and his very sweet verse that slowly turns into an explosive chorus before an ending where the dynamic between guitar and voice is completely turned around for a fantastic rollercoaster of emotions.
Those emotions are also exalted by the voice of the American. Rare are the singers that just force me to sit down like that. Be it on the religious “Baptised In Muddy Waters”, the intimate “Emily” or the intense “Mercy”, we are in front of a man that sings with the entirety of his soul. He has an incredible range that, here, he is able to perfectly express, especially given the fluidity and comfort with which he goes from one style to another. Every second of his singing gave me chills, at one moment or another, and it will stay with you forever.
On top of everything, he has the intelligence to call on numerous guests to play the bass and drums parts. And even though this is openly a solo album, AYRON JONES lets the other musicians all the freedom in the world to express themselves. And that works, because every single time, the sensibility of the musicians is perfectly complementary to his own, which allows him to exploit the full potential of his music.
In the end, “Child Of The State” is a total success. An explosive, intense and honest album who goes way beyond the first impression of being just a collection of influences. By creating his own way, AYRON JONES just makes everyone see eye to eye: he is an artist that will have to be followed closely. It’s an emotional experience that won’t let you indifferent if you’re a music lover.