There’s a common and perfectly natural perception that artists save their best work for their main projects but when a musician can operate within the freedom of a new moniker, it provides a useful outlet for trying out different styles without suffering too much loss of face if it doesn’t come off. The prolific Stephen Jones of Babybird fame chose his Death Of The Neighbourhood moniker to deliver a somewhat subdued state of the nation address via a self-titled double album in 2008, yet its subtle melancholia and electronica formed a winning combination. Now comes the surprising news of a ‘Redux’ edition which features some of the best tracks from the original album and plenty of new ones.
In truth most of the new material is too brief or incidental to sink your teeth into but ‘Elvis Is Coming’ (complete with classic vocal inflections) plus ‘And The Children Sang A Song That Never Ended’ are fluid instrumentals abundant with warmth and affection, to compliment the older tracks. Newcomers to DOTN, however, will be enchanted as ‘God’s Not Coming’ returns to the beats of Babybird track ‘It’s Not Funny Anymore’, ‘I Love My TV’ is underscored by a sickly yet seductive melody, whilst the sinister but infectious ‘Dumb Down’ ranks amongst Jones’ best work. Infact, sinister and infectious sums up the Babybird back catalogue quite effectively.
On a purely musical level, ‘DOTN Redux’ is a surprisingly relaxing listen, not a million miles away from the image portrayed by the idealistic cover art of a vintage family get-together. Naturally, as all followers of Jones will testify, there’s something far darker going on underneath and this new release does a very tidy job of compiling some of his best recent ideas into a seamless and compact thirty five minutes of fine music.