Seattle’s hard rocker/guitar hero/vocalist/songwriter Ayron Jones finally released the second album, Audio Paint Job, after 4 years interval. They took a long time to complete this album, and I’m glad the new album came up to surface as scheduled. His band’s name was “Ayron Jones and The Way” until recently, so the initial question was “is this still a band or solo work?”. The album cover has only Ayron and his name, but other members are still same. Maybe they just cut off “and The Way” (strategy?). I consider as a band. If I write “Ayron Jones”, that’s the front man. If I write “band”…well, you know.
Comparing with the first album, Dream, Ayron Jones focuses more on his two big influences from his hometown music scene, grunge, and Jimi Hendrix, in the most part of Audio Paint Job. Listeners can enjoy edgy hard rock in the dark tone like doomy Seattle weather overall. Ayron expresses his love of Jimi Hendrix without hesitation from the beginning. The guitar solos of “Take Me Away” and “Emily” has the full flavors of the eternal guitar legend from Seattle. So Audio Paint Job is like a sample of Seattle’s sound. The big difference with grunge is Audio Paint Job has better songs, variety, and techniques. The difference with Jimi Hendrix is Ayron’s guitar sound is rawer. Ayron’s raw guitar sound is addictive.
Though the main member and songwriter of the band is a guitarist who shows beautiful techniques with this new album again, Audio Paint Job is not a guitar album but song oriented like the previous Dream album. This is a right choice because many guitar albums are boring with too much self-satisfaction. Especially, “Take Your Time” is a soulful masterpiece to touch listeners’ emotional strings. Bluesy guitar, heavy bass, and Ayron’s emotional vocal are wonderful blend to create an impressive song. This real power ballad should definitely be a single.
Musically, Audio Paint Job is in the same direction with their previous album but added new flavors as surprises. One example is “Be There with You”. This is rock pop that the band hasn’t played before but pretty good match. Pop is never a bad thing but quality and position matter. The band placed that song in the perfect position. Between heavy “Lay Your Body Down” and sentimental and powerful “Love is the Answer”, “Be There with You” works as a fresh refreshment. Overall I think the album track order was considered pretty well.
Another surprise is the last song, “Yesterday”. This is blues, and Ayron is gone church. Because I love this type of music, it’s a good surprise for me. I didn’t expect I would hear blues from Ayron Jones. And this song is very soulful. Enough to give listeners a strong impact with his another talent at the last. Blues is actually difficult although sounds like easy because it comes directly from the inner-self. It’s not technic but emotion. If inner-self doesn’t get along with music well, blues wouldn’t be beautiful. Also again, placing this song at the last after a powerful message song (Love is the Answer) is perfect for a dramatic climax.
Although Aaron Jones and the band succeeded to expand the musical range with Audio Paint Job comparing with his first album, there are a few cons. One is censoring “fucking” from the lyric of their live anthem, “Boys From the Puget Sound”. The original was “fuckin’ police” but eliminated “fuckin'”. The album is available with only clean version (a budget issue?). This is a big mistake because “fucking” actually had an important accent with its strong lyric. Because “Boys From the Puget Sound” has a video cut and necessary song at their concerts, fans know the real lyric. It’s too late to illuminate the f-word, and that sounds a little foolish (FYI: TRIPMUZE doesn’t have the parental advisory policy. Just fuck it).
Another con is the production. The sound is the lack of dynamism. Even the band has very good technical skills, this less standard sound production reduces the impact. The instruments sound like staying a step behind all the time including the solo. This is the band that can easily kick audiences’ asses by their performance at a concert, especially Ayron’s guitar solo. They have proven that they have both high-level songwriting skills and techniques. Being a little more technical driven won’t hurt a song-oriented album for them. Because this full-length album would be a good opportunity to appeal their wonderful talents out of the small Seattle and Pacific Northwest scene, I think at least solo could be wilder and more front forward. Unfortunately, their last album’s production was better. Good production will be important for their next album to go much further than regional success.
OVERALL POINTS: 81/100
- Songs: ★★★★+1/4
- Originality: ★★★★+1/2
- Thrills: ★★★★
- Song orders: ★★★★+3/4
- Vocal: ★★★★
- Background: ★★★★
- Production: ★★★
- Strong songs: “West Coast Feeling”, “Take Your Time”, “Lay Your Body Down”, “Be There With You”, “Love Is the Answer”, “Yesterday”
EXTRA (NOT COUNTED TOWARD THE OVERALL POINTS)
- Title: A
- Album cover: D
AYRON JONES, AUDIO PAINT JOB
MORE ABOUT AYRON JONES
- SEATTLE, DAY 3: NOV 1, 2015 (SUN). University District/Ballard/Space Needle/Ayron Jones & The Way
- AYRON JONES AND THE WAY CONCERT REVIEW. ROCKWOOD MUSIC HALL, NEW YORK CITY, APR 19, 2016 (TUE)
*Cover photo source: Ayron Jones, Audio Paint Job, album cover