Jonnie Common – Trapped in Amber
With subtle wit and charming self-deprecation, former De-Fence records regular Jonnie Common gently pushes himself off into his second solo album by offering to put his pal on the guestlist for a free gig on Guesty. It sets the tone for a record that rises and falls based on its maker’s lyrical smarts, the plastic toy electronics that fritter and bubble around Common’s soft Glaswegian burr offering plenty in the way of prettiness, without really doing much to boldly change the landscape at any point.
Interspersions like a family member telling him not “to pick up the hedgehog” on EDC sit side-by-side with songs like So And So, a poignant, piano-led short about acquaintances' battles with cancer. Elsewhere, Shark sees him rally against apathy, “choosing softly without conviction” and consumerism (“we don’t eat healthy we just buy kitchens”); Crumbs is an imagery laden tale of personal evolution, from the four year-old throwing things over the hedge to next door (“they never threw back”) to his 20s and the pronouncement that “if I stay the same way I die.” Taken as a whole, Trapped In Amber is a patchy listen, though one with a consistent warmth that shines through.