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Better Days

by Laurie Jones

Released 2003
Reversing Recordings
Released 2003
Reversing Recordings
"The missing link between Dusty Springfield and Tom Petty"
NOTES
LAURIE JONES RELEASES HER NEW CD: "BETTER DAYS"

"Better Days" effortlessly straddles grandeur and the gutter. It is wild, optimistic, raucous and fun, a modern mix of melody, electronics, vintage guitar riffing...and the occasional tambourine.

From the majestic opener "Better Days" to the haunting confessional "Stilted," Jones and her cast of the usual -- and not-so-usual -- suspects deliver a widely varied collection of songs as stylistically diverse as the "White Album."

As one of the most intrepid women in rock'n'roll, Jones continues to pay tribute to everyone who has molded her writing and playing. From the Mick Taylor-like slide guitar of "Coffee Shop" to the rewiring of heavy synths in "Rebound" and "Under My Skin," Jones adds a bit of Pink to The Kinks. Her velvet vocals soar and her wit-pop lyrics prevail as she leads the new wave of New Wave.

"All my travels and opportunities for solitude have really paid off," says Jones. "The week in London in a tiny room and the winter days on the beach in San Diego allowed me to play my electric guitar and experiment with riffs. The time I spent in Halifax and Cape Breton Island also opened up my eyes and ears to a creative and vibrant world I never thought existed north of the 45th parallel."

"Raining In The Highlands," which was co-conspired by step dancer and friend Kelly MacArthur, describes love and life on the road in two high-spirited minutes. The track features fiddlers Steve Sporn and Colin Grant.

As pop's anti-bitch, Jones muscles on with "Joey, a rambunctious eulogy about a 20th century roustabout who upped the speed of rock'n'roll and encouraged all kids to sing and play guitar.

The musical touchstones continue to surprise as the band cow-punks their way through "Skeletons." Originally written as an emotionally charged folk ballad, its current incarnation is more of a swing-your-partner and stomp-your-feet power-polka-ska amalgamation.

An arsenal of Moogs sets the tone for "X-Ray Wow." Based on a 70s subterranean hit by "new rock pioneers" TV Toy, Jones pays homage to the Jersey rockers (as well as Brian Eno when he was still dressing like a woman), while making a sardonic commentary on the desperate world of indie rock. This glam-prog anthem - also inspired by the likes of Slade, The Sweet and Roxy Music - is a reckless way of Jones saying "thank you" for the 70s fashion and noise that shaped her developing brain while in utero.

The fun continues with "Padlock." Whimsical, ethereal and wishing it was Manson's "Beautiful People" or produced by Jimmy Page, this track is meaty, big and bouncy. "It's about being scared shitless and not being able to get your locker open at school."

"'Where I Stand' is the lonely, underproduced song, the runt of the litter," Jones continues. "It is a straight-ahead love song about a couple growing old together, tending their garden season after season, year after year. The classic life and love metaphor set to song."

What's left? "When we played small clubs three nights a week, the owners wanted us to keep the crowd dancing, drinking and seeking sex," Jones says with a grin. "We found ourselves inventing a set of songs to encourage all that. 'Good Stuff' was one of them, a dance club improvisation inspired by drunken dancefloor foreplay. It is our white soul, 'get the Led out,' funked-up booty shaker."

The disc also includes the bonus video, "Wide Awake," one of the most popular tracks from Laurie's previous CD, "After The Crash."

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