Johnny Hates Jazz – 30th Anniversary Extended Edition of Turn Back The Clock (3 CDs)

0

Turning Back The Clock on Turn Back The Clock . . . 

Reviewed by Brian McGowan. Released through Absolute Music on 5 October 2018.

Johnny Hates Jazz were Clark Datchler, Mike Nocito and Calvin Hayes. In 1988, together with producer, Phil Thornalley (later to join the band) they fashioned an album of beautifully written, sophisticated, sharp dressed pop. 30 years on, the enduring power and intimacy of these 10 tracks and 36 minutes that formed Turn Back The Clock remains undimmed.

The test of any good song is its resilience, its capacity to submit to artistic surgery in the studio, and to emerge as strong and even sometimes stronger than it began. This remastered, 30th Anniversary reissue includes a CD of 12” extended mixes and demos – the before and after if you will – all of which reinforce that notion. As well as the obvious biggies, four handpicked and perhaps equally obvious tracks have gone under the mixing desk knife over the years since the album’s debut, each one stretched and pulled into an elongated version. The fact they have all come out just as handsome as they went in, is something of a tribute to main producer, Thornalley.

CD2 is dominated by acoustic recordings. Datchler went back into the studio this year and re-recorded all ten tracks. This approach carries an inherent risk – it has laid many other bands bare, revealing a paucity of compositional talent. For Datchler that wasn’t a concern. Back in ’88, he showed a lyrical and melodic awareness that escaped most of his contemporaries. You can hear that time has taken its toll on his voice, but in its own way this adds to the emotionally realised themes of yearning and loss and regret in his songs. Ironically, it has most impact on one he didn’t write – Phil Thornalley’s ‘Listen’ – turning it into a whispered prayer of earthly wisdom.

Datchler’s delicately shaded vocals, and Hayes’ and Nocito’s elegantly sparse backing arrangements are echoed in the acoustic guitar and soughing strings of ‘What Other Reason’ and ‘Don’t Say It’s Love’. The country rock stylings on ‘Turn Back The Clock’ are a revelation. Maybe a pointer to an updated future.

Elsewhere, the shimmering soulfulness of ‘Heart Of Gold’ and ‘Different Seasons’ are object lessons in less is more musicality. ‘Shattered Dreams’, the fiendishly catchy breakthrough single, packed with drama and pop nous, here sounds sweetly hymnal, encouraging you to go back to Disc One, and start again on this band’s unbreakable album of pop music perfection.

Track List:

CD1:

  1. Shattered Dreams
  2. Heart Of Gold
  3. Turn Back The Clock
  4. Don’t Say It’s Love
  5. What Other Reason
  6. I Don’t Want To Be A Hero
  7. Listen
  8. Different Seasons
  9. Don’t Let It End This Way
  10. Me And My Foolish Heart

CD2: The Acoustic Album

  1. Shattered Dreams
  2. Heart Of Gold
  3. Turn Back The Clock
  4. Don’t Say It’s Love
  5. What Other Reason
  6. I Don’t Want To Be A Hero
  7. Listen
  8. Different Seasons
  9. Don’t Let It End This Way
  10. Me And My Foolish Heart

CD3 : Extended Mixes, B Sides and Demos

Extended Mixes:

  1. Shattered Dreams
  2. I Don’t Want To Be A Hero
  3. Turn Back The Clock
  4. Heart Of Gold
  5. Don’t Say It’s Love
  6. Me And My Foolish Heart

B Sides : 

  1. My Secret Garden
  2. The Cage
  3. Cracking Up
  4. Living In The Past
  5. Leave It Up To Me

Demos : 

  1. Shattered Dreams
  2. Turn Back The Clock
  3. Different Seasons
  4. I Don’t Want To Be A Hero

 

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.