Jones Street Station are ready for their debut... Again. Though the simple grace of 2007 s Overcome extends to the band s second effort, In Verses, This is really our first record as five people coming from five different places, explains singer and harmonica/accordion player Jonathan Hull. To wit, In Verses marks the studio debut of drummer Sam Rockwell, the emergence of four lead singers, and the addition of roadhouse rock and straight ahead pop to strains of Americana and soulful country-folk. The evolution of the group is, according to mandolinist and singer Danny Erker, due to fact that Each member of this band is capable of fronting one on his own. We've each got different skills and tastes, so when we re lucky, we wind up with a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts it s a beautiful show of strength in numbers. This group of Brooklynites from Minnesota, Princeton, Chicago, St. Louis and Springfield, Ohio are indeed a quintet of fully-formed characters. Hull, for one, carries his harmonica in a gun belt for a reason a note-nailing delivery that s as jittery and disjointed as his personality. Then there s Rockwell, a steam roller who can punish the drum set and play with lightness and touch; keyboardist/singer Jonathan Benedict (better known as JB), a skilled remixer/producer who s twisted knobs on tracks for Rihanna, Yoko Ono and The Killers; bassist/singer Walt Wells, a musician s musician and part-time ethnomusicologist with the chops to carry his own in everything from a soul revue to a Japanese string band; and Erker, a craftsman with a modified mandolin, plug-and-play banjo approach and honed singer-songwriter skills. Ask Hull just how this adds up to an album as seamless as In Verses, and he ll rattle off one reason after another, from the heft that came from dropping Rockwell s drums in the mix to a pass-the-mic style that results in their trademark harmonies. Case in point: the way Favor and Evergreen fade in and out on the strength of starry-eyed keys, slow-burning chords and melancholic melodies. And just when you think you ve got the band figured out, they send a crunchy Rhodes cascading across Oh Victoria and invite their friends in Goes Cube a metal band, mind you over for the raucous, banjo-led campfire climax of Neville. We don t really do genre-specific music, says Erker. In Neville, for instance, we've got detailed four-part harmonies alongside flat-out screaming, Scruggs-style banjo and a harmonica, for God's sake all of which co-exist within a three-minute song that starts off as a sleepy ballad and mutates into a rock anthem free-for-all. And if In Verses doesn t explain all the gear-shifting behind the scenes of Jones Street Station, there s always their shows... People see our instruments and expect one thing, explains Hull, alluding to previous gigs with Ben Kweller. Then they re like, Woah! That s not how people play the harmonica. Or the mandolin. Wait; where s your lead singer? You don t have one? Nope. And they won t anytime soon, either.
Blending harmonies and country, folk and rock influences, the band crafts a song that's both sweet and sad about being together and alone, while still finding sunlight in the sadness - --Npr
The ones that come most alive on the harmonious and generally lovely and smart new full-length In Verses - that points to a knack for looking on the brighter side of life, even if that side is still shuttered by shadows and the obviously dragging aspects of life that cannot be dodged for the life of anyone. --Daytrotter
...But the five young men are quite comfortable in their sound that would fit far better on the AM radio dials of pre-New Country (and pre-ClearChannel...) Middle America than a Pitchfork podcast of today. And so they should be, as In Verses contains some of the best Americana, alt-country, whatever you want to call it out there, headed up by Slow Lights and its near-perfect Americana hook & rhythm. And only Slow Lights keeps Flyover State, their love letter to the Midwestern homes (except singer/keyboardist Jonathan Benedict, who's from Midwestern New Jersey...), from being the record's standout. The band goes more southern in the twang of Front Door, while there's a great driving rhythm married to an Americana anthem on Oh Victoria. --QRO Magazine