Stone Iris: Illuminations [EP]
I really don’t like listening to an EP, as opposed to an LP – length album. There’s just never enough time in 4 or 5 songs to really get into the music, to get familiar with the artists. Or worse, if I really enjoy what I hear, I’ve only got an appetizer instead of a full aural meal.
The latter’s the case with Rock / Reggae fusion act, Stone Iris, on their latest EP, ‘Illuminations’. The 5 songs here are a great demonstration of versatility and originality, but all it did was whet my appetite for more. The middle 3 tracks, “Blood Clot Sunrise”, “Wicked Start” and “Palm Bay Blues” are the best listen, with the opening and closing tracks passable, but not quite up to snuff with the meat in this sandwich.
Given Stone Iris’ extensive back catalogue of EPs and LPs, it really would freshen up the whole genre if they’d finally get a wider audience; they’re doing good music, and they should be listened to. They also have the distinction of being the first band in a long while with MAPL that I’ve enjoyed.
Stone Iris: Illuminations [EP] – 8.5/10
The whole Singer-Songwriter thing’s gotten old fast, in the short few years since we all saw “Once”. JP Hoe treats us to yet another rendition of the same, tired tropes: Acoustic guitar, poetic lyrics, occasional insight and a sad (but not bitter) romantic soul. That’s not to say ‘Mannequin’ is paint-by-numbers, but that’s owing to Hoe’s technical and vocal ability, not to the music or lyrics. Hoe’s great on the guitar, and he’s got a nice voice, but he also isn’t putting out anything we haven’t heard before.
It’s time for Hoe to take his music beyond the realm of his influences and inspirations, and set off on the dangerous waters of originality. The Singer-Songwriter bullshit needs to go back to sleep for a couple of decades; musicians like Hoe, with obvious talent, should get out and find something new to play, and do it fast.
JP Hoe: Mannequin – 6.5/10