Charles Campbell Jones - Wasting The Duke

Sam Floy 25/10/2006

Rating: 3/5

Charles Campbell Jones' retro, almost hippy, album cover protects the eccentric variety of songs produced by the Australian. His music can range from complex piano play to amateur metal - Winter Palace is a cover of his favourite band, The Powder Monkeys. Involved also in the album is a medley of instruments played very well indeed for example in Twilight Waltz he dares to open with tubular bells where others would settle with using a modest piano. However, on the very next track you are taken on a rock journey by young Campbell-Jones, resembling the rubix cube; his music being intricate, always changing and hard to work out. Nonetheless after a while all will become clear, basically he uses more styles than times Madonna has reinvented herself.

Charles plays unconventional chords to keep up the rhythm of his upbeat songs and add to the melancholic effect in the more down beat ones - violins and a whole host of other instruments on track seven (Caramel) mean it could feel right at home if played on the Highlands. However, his songs sometimes seem to merge into a progression of pew-like singing that, along with the other strong sounds of violins, piano, organ, tambourine (now and again), does sound remarkably like Campbell-Jones' voice is breaking in the school assembly. And then, after a short interlude and another twist of the rubix cube, he reveals yet another slightly modified face of his talent, as you are shown 'Bring Your Love To Me' with an Arctic Monkey-esque slow intro, brief pause to utter “a choice of river in the street?” then harder heavier playing of the piano, return to quieter tone, bit of clapping, few guitars and then a vocal harmony - truly defining the term 'mixed bag'.

CCJ's music definition is experimental but its unorthodoxy mean that it could even be described as alternative experimental. Luckily for an HMV employee though 'the rubix cube's' music has enough structure and touch with reality to define it as progressive alternative rock; nevertheless his CD could be placed in most corners of HMV (or any other generic record stores) and there wouldn't be too many complaints. Nevertheless, he seems to have adopted the styles that other bands use, to give you what seems like a compilation album if you took each single individually, I mentioned 'Bring Your Love To Me' and the intro for 'Better, Then' could quite easily have been composed by Athlete. All this gives Campbell-Jones a number of options in which route to go down if he wishes to single out a style. He could be a progressive-rocker however, I feel he has much more to offer as an overall musician by giving this wide array of melodious prowess and so should stay, sitting on the many fences of Classic/Rock/Experimental/Alternative/Metal which leave him the allowance to pursue all aspects of 'CREAM'.

This album then - 'Wasting the Duke' - is a fifty minute variety show in a CD case. He has overall shown his convoluted rubix cube method of aesthetically satisfying your musical pallet covering a vast display of techniques.

Campbell-Jones therefore will have success with this broad album - if his fans can find it.