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Articles Home » 1989 Articles » Jones, Howard - 1989 Cross That Line
Jones, Howard - 1989 Cross That Line

ARTIST: Jones, Howard
ALBUM: Cross That Line
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 9 60794-2
YEAR: 1989


LINEUP: Howard Jones - Cross That Line (1989, Elektra) 9 60794-2 Howard Jones - vocals, keyboards, piano, fairlight guitar, hammond organ, drums, flute

Additional Musicians: Ian Stanley - keyboards * Chris Hughes, Trevor Morias - drums * Andy Ross, Martin Jones, Phil Palmer - guitars * Simon Clarke, Tim Sanders - sax * Steve Sidwell, Roddy Lorimer - trumpet * Peter Thoms - trombone * Alan Hewitt - chainsaw * Sandy McLelland, Inga Humpe, Claudia Fontaine - background vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 The Prisoner * 02 Everlasting Love * 03 Powerhouse * 04 Last Supper * 05 Cross That Line * 06 Out Of Thin Air * 07 Guardians Of The Breath * 08 Fresh Air Waltz * 09 Wanders To You * 10 Those Who Move Clouds


Remember Howard Jones and his magnificently spiked hairdo? Always in heavy rotation on MTV and impossible to miss but like the equally bizarre coiffure worn by A Flock of Seagulls Michael Score, there was a formidable talent lurking behind the ridiculous image while charting some of the era's biggest hits including the infectious 'whoa, whoa, whoa' of 'Things Can Only Get Better' and the instantly memorable 'No One Is To Blame'. Classics all and yet it might come as a surprise Howard's roots were in progressive music; specifically fronting a Genesis/ELP influenced band called Warrior in the early 1970's. This goes a long way to explain the difference between Jones and the hordes of video-driven wannabes that appeared and disappeared at an alarming rate throughout the decade. While it wasn't unusual for pop stars or AOR bands for that matter to have proggy histories; HoJo's penchant for innovation came through loud and clear and although you'll never mistake any of his releases for '80s Yes or Marillion; 'Cross That Line' has its moments.

The Songs
Like his previous effort 'One To One', Howard edges away from the hi-tech overdrive of 1985's career-defining 'Dream Into Action' and applies a more subdued, mature direction. 'The Prisoner' begins the album with sharp wedges of guitar and more AOR in style than we are used to hearing from the keyboard maestro and it works, quite well I might add. Up-tempo and pure pop magic 'Everlasting Love' and the funky synth-bop of 'Powerhouse' are unmistakable Jones but the lovely 'Last Supper' with its delicate acoustic guitar and a chorus to die for as well as the achingly beautiful Windham Hill-styled instrumental 'Out Of Thin Air' are obvious examples of his desire to break out the confining pop star box or at least stay in step with the times. Yet I wonder if songs like 'Guardians Of The Breath' which features all sorts of odd but always melodic sounds including a well-placed e-bow imitating a seagull and believe it or not - a Chainsaw (!) and the Peter Gabriel influenced closing track 'Those Who Move Clouds' might have been too much for his pop 'til you drop fan base with the album stalling out at #62 and not selling much better in the UK.

In Summary
An inspired North American billing with ex-Ultravox main man Midge Ure in tow pushed 'Everlasting Love' into the Billboard Top 20 but his better days were behind him. The piano based 'In The Running' released in 1992 pulled off a minor hit with 'Lift Me Up' although the disc failed to chart and the once lucrative relationship with Warner Brothers came to end. These days Howard Jones still tours and records but without the mile-high do.

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