Jason Bonthron is a post punk musician from New Jersey. The work on this, his latest album, is strongly reminiscent of early 80’s post-punk English Rock band: Joy Division. Cyclops is an eclectic blend of both slow and fast paced futuristic sounds and melodies. Cyclops features Danielle Stauss as lead female vocalist and Jason Bonthron as the lead male vocalist. The album was written over a two year time period and has only recently been given the full green light. All of the songs on Cyclops are written/composed by Jason Bonthron.
Cyclops opens with the track “Am Radio”. Basic chords played with a string accompaniment complimented by Stauss’s smooth voice. In other words, a song that is both mellow and easy to digest because of its simplicity. Second on the album is Bonthron’s track entitled: “Not Today”. This time, the one-eyed monster mixes up some funk with some groovy ‘wah wah’ guitar effects. In addition, “Not Today” gives the listener their first taste of Bonthron’s vocal ability. Unlike Stauss, there isn’t anything very ‘smooth’ about Bonthron’s vocals. I’m no master vocalist/instrumentalist, but having played music my entire life I know when: 1) phrasing is off; 2) pitch needs to be corrected. In “Not Today”, Bonthron sounds like he’s rushing to the airport to catch a plane (i.e. he’s in a huge rush), making the shape and weight of the notes in his vocal melody: uneven. A couple songs later in “Jupiter”, Bonthron is repeatedly missing his target notes on a song which the vocal melody is simply too complex. Jupiter had Bonthron a little over his head with vocals, in my opinion. That being said, Bonthron does redeem himself at the end of Cyclops with his final song: Say Goodbye. Notes are perfect, Bronthron voice is clear, and the message of losing a loved one is visibly stamped in the lyrics.
All in all, Cyclops was an easy listen. A decent piece of ear candy for any day of the week. If you’re a fan of Sonic Youth or Joy Division then Jason Bonthron’s Cyclops is definitely worth a listen.