A huge back catalogue such as the one at Stephen Jones' disposal would inevitably lead to a misfiring album at some stage of his career and sure enough, the man who we normally refer to simply as Babybird fell short with a record released under his birth name. The biggest mistake was imposing his falsetto vocals on virtually every song; used sparingly on previous records it added a sense of creepiness but over the course of a whole album it was too much to stomach.
So the first pleasing news to report for his next album is that Jones now sings in the "proper" manner and the music, though riddled in the dark lyricism that has become his trademark, is now bright and brash, making it a return to the form of 2000's 'Bugged'. Certainly, 'Dive', 'Shoutabout' and 'Snails' exhibit those aggressive pop qualities. Meanwhile, his tender side is exposed on the beautifully sung opener 'Too Much' and the fragile, twinkling 'Divorce Song'. There's also room for the chilling macabre likes of 'Beautiful Place' and 'The Little Things'. Where he really excels, though, is the mighty '70'; a thrilling melodic ride, complete with a euphoric chorus, which even features some rather endearing lyrics of an ageing love. This new record doesn't quite recapture the magic of the mid to late 1990s period but at least reaffirms that Jones is still a twisted pop genius.