Jonas Carping – All the Time in the World

There is, with music which describes itself as ‘folk’ a perennial danger, a sword of Damocles perpetually hanging over its head – or more precisely over the ears of the listener. This is particularly accentuated when we deal with the genus of self-described folk musician known as the ‘singer songwriter’.

This danger is one to which, sadly, Jonas Carping – who very much is of said ilk - succumbs. Folk influenced pop by definition relies on an adherence to certain standards, or at very least a nod in their direction. But this collection of songs barely has the energy to rise above the perfunctory. All the Time in the World is, in short, dull.

The songs tend to be built around picked guitar patterns, which are relatively single-paced, given colour with some violin. But just putting together something that qualifies as a song, which is recognisably of the genre in which you wish to operate is all a bit by-the-numbers. Although, probably fine if your sole objective is to soundtrack a wistful moment in an asinine Californian teen drama.

The vocals certainly can’t carry it. Carping’s lyrics tend to hover around the level of an exchange student at an open mike night. This is somewhat exacerbated by his earnest baritone, which tends to go a bit Chad Kroeger when he moves away from his oft-repeated stock inflection and cadence. Backing vocals from his regular band are perfectly serviceable, but again, fail to add much but more noises to the mix.

There are glimmers of hope here and there: single “The One” evokes Springsteen in places (though a vomit-inducing saccharine chorus is less The Boss and more The X-Factor), and as the bass and electric guitar rise fleetingly to the fore in “The One” you are afforded a reminder that there are other types of music out there – something you can forget while stuck in the folkish Gobi Desert.

There are, in fairness, probably people who are attuned to this kind of thing; hieroglyphic experts to whom a series of meaningless squiggles is an epic yarn, every nuance of which contributes to its status as a both a unique cipher of an exactingly singular aspect of the human condition and a resounding echo of the monolithic whole.

Perhaps it’s simpler than that though, maybe its value lies exactly in the lack of character – a junkie’s hit which needs to do only one thing: exactly what you expect it to. The civilian listener, however, will find little of value.

Release: 24th September 2012, Self-release

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