Jonquil – Point of Go

January 01, 1970



There may be people in the world who at this very moment are
moaning, “Why don’t more contemporary artists merge a Smiths/Cure vibe with a
bit of ‘80s Synth Pop – especially Depeche Mode — that I can dance (at least
alone, in my room) to? And why couldn’t it also integrate some bright, African
Pop guitars and beats? – I mean, I know that Talking Heads did the latter eons
ago, but I’d still like to hear it…”


Then there are folks who occasionally get a yen for classic
Smiths and/or Human League but who can go for months and months without going
into withdrawal in the absence of either. Those folks can sound a bit high and
mighty in their opening-of-review examples. But upon hearing a track such as
the title one (“Point of Go,” parts one and two) on some design competition, or
as part of a runway show, I’m likely to start Googling and YouTubing around for
it (high and mighty openings require the humbling potential in guilty-pleasure
confessions). And, really, Jonquil’s music isn’t as light as all that – there’s
plenty of feeling in the choruses; especially on Part 2 of that ridiculously
ingratiating title track. Just because the presentation would work on a catwalk
and at an upscale shopping mall as well as it would in the bedroom of some
depressed teenager is no reason to dismiss it as insignificant.


Even the group’s name demands at least somewhat closer
examination. Jonquil (“a widely cultivated ornamental plant [Narcissus
,] native chiefly
to southern Europe, having long narrow leaves
and short-tubed yellow flowers”) isn’t a name one hears every day; even in
these times of determinedly, sometimes desperate-to-be-different names floating
around a huge band-name ocean. It stands out as fresh and, somehow, right, in a late ‘60s; mid-80s,
right-now, vaguely French-movie-with-sailor-shirts-and-perfect-white-jeans sort
of way. Of course, the couple in this film isn’t consistently – if at all –
happy, despite hip duds and gorgeous looks.


And Jonquil is just the name Hugo Manuel, a/k/a Chad
fastened upon for this project. Point of
is Jonquil’s third album, one for which the group has shrunk from six to
four members.


At my memorial (assuming there is one), would I like this
played over loudspeakers — rather, than, say, Satie (if Satie’s music hadn’t
become so overplayed), or rather than a less-used-in-automobile-advertisements
composer of classical sublimity; such as Jacques Ibert or Gabriel Faure? Would
I prefer it to a diehard rock ‘n’ roll wake-up-and-live anthem like the Sonics’
“Have Love, Will Travel”? Well, as one who’s been visited by a variety of pain
that falls under the general “headache” title, you might say I could do worse
(one of Jonquil’s tracks is “History of Headaches”).  And the more I listen to Jonquil, the more I
l-u-v these guys. I like the idea of my memorial guests being distracted by the
need to get home (or onto their smart phones) to hunt and peck around for Point of Go.


of Go (Parts One and Two),” “Getaway,” “It’s My Part,” “Spammed” MARY LEARY


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