Jonathan Inc. Things Done and Left Undone

[Anniedale; 2004]

Rating: 3.5/5

Styles: indie-pop/ dream-pop/ ambient folk
Others: Death Cab for Cutie, Pedro the Lion, Ida, Elliot Smith, Low

In the world of popular music, there is a bit of an overload. From the beginnings of modern rock 'n' roll to this very day, the amount of bands, albums, singles, and songs that have passed by our ears and eyes are too many to count. So how does a band stand out? What can they offer? How do they work their way into the hearts and minds of listeners? By giving us honesty and emotions.

From Canada (Vancouver to be exact) comes Jonathan Inc., and they bring just that. Things Done and Left Undone is the third full-length album from the quartet and the follow up to the successful five song EP Halfway to a Better Place. Led by Jonathan Anderson, the band has used their melancholy melodies and introspective lyrics to create a comforting, bittersweet mood, and with each track you fall deeper into the spell. Calm and quiet from start to finish, the album really grabs you with tracks like "Cat Burglar," which sounds tailor made for a rainy day; "Lights Go Down," which contains the line that proves that I wasn't just throwing around the word "introspective," ("You cannot escape the things you've done/ the truth lies waiting in the dark"); and "Unbroken Silence," the most up-tempo and radio friendly song on the album (not a bad thing -- I swear!) The calling card track is "Never Tell," and it does all the right things: it sprawls, it cries, it thinks, and it accuses ("And how was I to know what love's about/from one who never tells"). It is the song from which the album's mood flows.

Jonathan Inc is the type of band that gets the "soundtrack" to your life label. Sometimes that is a nice way of saying it's background music for surfing the Internet or writing bills. Not so here. Things Done and Left Undone is full of great songs packed with the type of moments -- a certain melody, a vocal line, a harmony, a swelling chorus -- that you hope come on the stereo in your car when you're driving away from a break-up that took place on a stair step in front of your true love's apartment complex, or after a day in which you learned the hard lesson of failure. This album is a solid step forward for the band and it leaves room for growth, which is a great plus as they continue to reach beyond Canada's snow covered plains. For now (and I trust forever), Jonathan Inc. gives you those musical moments that say, "Yes, you're sad, this hurts, but it's going to be okay." Honesty and emotions... the best things a band can offer.

1. Reading Between the Lines of an Empty Page
2. Cat Burglar
3. Lights Go Down
4. Relentless
5. Unbroken Silence
6. One Year
7. Never Tell
8. There is No Sound

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