Steven Jones + Logan Sky: Summer Herz – UK – DL 
- Summer Herz
- The Last Man In Europe
- Summer Herz [Berlin ’22]
Has it really been a year since “European Lovers,” the stunning 2021 release by Steven Jones + Logan Sky? Their recent album had them expanding their sound with six string support from Jan Linton [albeit usually one string at a time on his eBow] as well as the mighty Gary Barnacle on sax. Their new single shows them still in fear of standing still for even a minute.
Last night we got the email that “Summer Herz,” a new “virtual” 12″ single had appeared on Bandcamp and we wasted no time in immediately buying the DL from Bandcamp. “Summer Herz” was a bilingual pun as “herz,” the German word for “heart,” is pronounced as “hurts.” So this song was about a summer romance on the rocks. As the great cover art made explicit [while visually referencing the tulips on A Flock Of Seagulls’ third album].
The changes were apparent immediately. The winsome synth melodies were joined by insouciant trumpet from Gary Alesbrook who is contributing a role to this music not unlike what John Gatchell brought to a Soft Cell classic like my favorite by that band, “Torch.” Jan Linton was also back, contributing guitar as well. The contrasts between the hurt expressed by vocalist Steven Jones and the fluid synth glissandos by Logan Sky found a perfect counterpoint in the world-weary trumpet that cast a jaded eye over this failed summer fling. Mr. Sky also interjected some cocktail piano to keep the trumpet company in the mix.
The middle eight had the sweetness of the track breaking down over Jones’ spoken-word kiss-off to turn dissipated and even minor key as the trumpet and the piano duetted for several bars. Mutating the song into Jazz before re-composing itself. Making this new single further growth from the restless duo.
Fans pining for the classic Jones + Sky sound could hardly do better than the B-side here, “The Last Man In Europe.” It can’t help but be a reference to the band signed to Bill Nelson’s Cocteau Records for a single from 1981 I have in my Record Cell! But that record would be wanting next to the glacial grandeur on display on this song! This was actually redolent of the sound that a band named “The Last Man In Europe” should have been making for me.
The cinematic synth melodies and the bass programming built up an icy edifice of Eastern Europe shot through with the grave intonations of Mr. Jones’ recitations and soaring choruses. The strict discipline of the tense beatbox had bursts of handclaps engaged in a sonic ballet with Mr. Sky’s piano that found its silky smoothness framed in the sharp relief of the percussion. It’s a glorious thing that I can hear a record like this 41 years after the year of 1981 and know that this lot have more where this came from still in them.
The third track showed the influence of The Maestro, Bryan Ferry, and his orchestral manoeuvres into rendering his back catalogue as Weimer-era musik. “Summer Herz [Berlin ’22]” was the A-side, audaciously rendered in just piano and trumpet. As if synthesizers did not yet exist. Mr. Sky was leaning on his piano for all of these songs, so maybe he’s entered his classicist phase. It sounded like he was playing an upright here. I’m happy to report that it was a huge win for the duo. Not every act that relies on synths can pull off this sort of thing with me. But the release of this version of the song announced that Steven Jones + Logan Sky have an artistic vision so robust that they can do whatever they want to and come out of it without any egg on their faces. Buy immediately for your pleasure as this could be the last Bandcamp Friday in a while. They’re only asking £1.00 for the privilege, so don’t forget to top it up! Let’s hope that this means that more delightful music [perhaps the next album] is poised on the launch pad.