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Jonquil

Jonquil’s first performance at the famed SXSW Fest in Austin, Texas, made a big impression on the Oxford, England-based band. And not merely because of their time on stage.

“We went to BBQ,” says the band’s Sam Scott, “And none of us have been the same since, in our hearts or our arteries,” he laughs. “But it was very exciting to play in America – all of us have been playing in bands for a long time, and it was a real goal that we achieved together. The best thing was playing the shows to the people.”

Shows that – appropriately – perfectly showcased Jonquil’s new songs from their latest album, Point of Go, which the press is calling ‘far more poppy and accessible’ than anything the band’s previously recorded.

“The focus on ‘crisp, clean and poppy’ was definitely inherent throughout the whole process,” Scott explains. “We really wanted to avoid sounding cluttered or lo-fi, as all of our previous releases do, and the album’s name had this effect in mind along with the lineup change that happened soon before the writing process began (Editor’s note: the band downsized from seven members to four last year.)”

A few components of Point of Go were recorded at home in Oxford by the band, but the majority of sessions were tracked at band friend Andrew Halford’s studio, Iglu, near Birmingham England, where Jonquil found the environment ‘friendly and positive.’

“The studio is in an out-building on Andrew’s parents’ lovely farm,” Scott says, “sheep in the fields, horses in the barn, packs of dogs popping up the steps to check it out, chickens laying eggs at our feet – real relaxed and inviting. It’s good feeling secluded when you’ve got to focus, but we didn’t want any of that eerie, haunted house shite. (What was good) is that the farm is running and there’s occasional hustle and bustle.”

The band managed, Scott proudly says, to stick to a fairly strict deadline for recording without avoiding home and work too much.

“We were very pleasantly surprised with the turnaround,” he says, “with three or four songs partly written, we gave ourselves six weeks to write and record the whole thing, to and fro-ing between home for maybe four days a week. So, on schedule, and casual. Impressive, no?”

For sure. What’s also impressive is the band’s refreshed sound – whether or not due to less cooks in the kitchen, the locale, or other positive influences, this new set of Jonquil songs veers subtly and effectively from pensive almost-ballads to jittery guitar-based pop songs, the highlights including the bright “Mexico,” the vivacious “It’s My Part,” and the more contemplative “History of Headaches,” one of the two album closers. It may be a different audio ambiance for the band, but it’s one that’s already working for them.

“It was definitely intentional to make something pretty unashamedly pop,” Scott says. “We’ve lost our hangups about being ‘cool’ and ‘indie’ and we know that punk is in the method, not the music.” – Kristi Kates

Find out more about Jonquil on their official Facebook page.