REVIEW: Jones – New Skin

Whenever anyone asks us about Jones, the only word we can really conjure up for her is, well, “nice”. Which isn’t a disservice to her talent – she certainly has it in droves – but there’s something ever so saturated about the market of UK contemporary soul these days and Cherie Jones embodies that with a stage name as unfortunately plain as her debut record.

New Skin feels like a bit of a misnomer at times for a record that takes very few risks and plays to a very familiar audience. On the bright side, the production eschews that big-brass sound that seems popular in the genre, going instead for swirling electronica on songs like Hoops and even making the most out of an MOR bed on the catchy Melt.

The thing with these songs is that they could be sung by anyone. Jones doesn’t push herself in any discernible way, mining the middle ground on songs like Out Of This World (it’s not) and Wild (it’s definitely not). There’s also an irksome simplicity in her words on well-sung tracks like Waterloo, lines like “if I could see it through/ I’ll give it all to you” taking an otherwise classy arrangement into the realm of schmaltz.

Another culprit is the “power / hour after hour” rhyme of Walk My Way, which is the point Jones’s M.O. reveals itself. There’s no desire to reinvent literally anything, just little inoffensive radio-friendly earworms that mums would enjoy with their Sunday cuppa or that Hollywood rom-com sync merchants will salivate over for the next 12 months. New Skin this may be, but it doesn’t half cover some tired old bones.

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Jones - New Skin
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