Saturday, 5 March 2016

Album: Gentle Jones - Blood King

Gentle Jones Bill Ferrell Blood King

Gentles Jones - Take The Money and Run

Info: Delaware's Gentle Jones (Bill Ferrell) is an internationally acclaimed MC and DJ who has traversed many styles over his career including ska and punk as well as collaborating with Irish experimental hip-hop and jazz fusion solo act Auxiliary Phoenix on two albums as High Elders, featuring in Hot Press. The American rapper recently released an album he rightfully feels particularly proud of in Blood King, in his own words; 'I am the Blood King. I was born to this path. For years I've ruled in exile and now I return to claim my throne. Heads will roll.' Whilst Jones jests, (I think?), thus is his attitude to his music summed up, the duality of humour, which takes primacy, and also an anger at social injustices which is channeled through his lyrics.

The opening track 'Legalize Murder' was released as a single last year around the time of several controversial shootings of young black men by law enforcement across the U.S., the chorus line; 'They need to legalize murder, I'm surrounded by dumb fucks', crudely pointing to a simple solution to end the problem of negative publicity of the police force and an establishment which seems unwilling to address an ongoing problem.

The album's title track adopts an almost trash metal hue, vocally and through it's use of heavy bass led guitars and drums, appropriately and maybe unintentionally referencing a Deep Purple rock classic in it's lyrics. I loved 'Take The Money and Run' (above), it reminded me of heady summer 1990's rap sounds, Arrested Development 'Mr.Wendal' vibes abound, Jones pointing a nostalgic finger at where he's from briefly with regard to timelines rather than influences. 

Gentles Jones - Four Thousand Years

The short but sweet 'Four Thousand Years' (above) is solidly contemporary, and could easily sit on any popular electronic, trip-hop album, one I found myself repeatedly going back to the beginning of because it could easily be twice as long and not outstay its welcome. 'Dreams of Mephistopheles', is a brief but equally pleasing jam, Mephistopheles, a demon from German folklore, was commonly perceived as an agent of Satan (the bad guy from the Bible who killed 10 people versus God's impressive 2.4 million death count!). Literary critics view him not as a character who searches for men to corrupt, but came to serve and ultimately collect the souls of those who are already damned, whether Jones has inserted this as an allegory for the theme of the album only he knows! Maybe he's subliminally collecting our lost musical souls before he takes his aforementioned throne as the Dark Lord of 21st century hip-hop.

Blood King ends with strands of Gentle Jones' origins, a brief snap of ska sets closing track 'So High I Think I Might Die' on its way. Lyrically it reads like a reflection of a heightened awareness of mortality, the invincibility and enjoyable trappings of youth versus facing the future, a cosmically set look at what awaits us all on our own day of reckoning. I could be wrong, but one of the enjoyable aspects of Gentle Jones' music is it's thematic value, and confusion, it could all mean absolutely nothing, or it could be masking his fears and frustrations with humour, I've a feeling it's the latter, but that can be set aside and the music can just be enjoyed, which I think was the ultimate goal of Blood King.

Gentle Jones - Blood King - cover

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