Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Jonesy - No Alternative CD (album) cover



Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
3 stars Obviously, the shadow of King Crimson looms heavily over the Mellotron-laced debut by Jonesy. Compare "Heaven" to "I Talk To The Wind", for example. At this early stage, they hadn't quite picked up on the Crimsonian jazzy sophistication yet, though. So a lot of these tunes ("Mind of the century" and the title track, notably) are more straight-up rock tracks. It is, however, interesting to hear Jimmy Kaleth's Mellotron technique over the course of this album, he plays it like it were a Hammond organ! He stops short of sweeping glissandi across the keys, but the start-stop sound of his playing is quite unnerving if you're not accustomed to it!
Report this review (#46376)
Posted Monday, September 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Debut album released in 1972 "No Alternative". The sound is the one that initial KING CRIMSON an influence was strongly received. It is an oppressive performance to make good use of a kooky rhythm. Merotoron is used in this work as well as the Hammond organ. It is a work recommended for the fan of KING CRIMSON.
Report this review (#60646)
Posted Sunday, December 18, 2005 | Review Permalink
Easy Money
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars This is not bad for a first effort, it definitley makes me want to check out their next two albums and see how they progress as they add horns to the mix. A lot of people compare this to King Crimson, but I think that is misleading. There is one ballad that features a lot of up front Mellotron, but the rest of the album is one half heavy bluesy rock and one half early jazz-rock. I would compare them more to Atomic Rooster, Colosseum, Wishbone Ash or early Camel.

All the musicians in the band are very good and I really prefer the instrumental parts where they really take off. Unfortunately the weak spot is the vocals. In fact, I find this to be a weak spot with a lot of rock bands. Why is it that you can't find a pro RnB band in the world who wouldn't think of hitting the stage without a great vocalist, but this standard seems to be much more hit and miss with rock bands. Sure there are many rock bands with great vocalists, but there are also many fronted by mediocre singers. This CD is totally devoid of information so I don't know who the singer is, but I will give him credit for having a sincere delivery and thought provoking lyrics.

It would have been nice to get a lyric sheet with this CD because it sounds like they have something to say. Lead song "No Alternative" has working class anti-government lyrics delivered in an angry voice making Jonsey a bit of a proto-punk band. The CD cover artwork is also very stark and urban for an early 70s progressive rock band. This is not "pretty" progressive rock, although Jonsey can get complicated, their delivery and tone never stray to far from their obvious bar-band roots.

Report this review (#145786)
Posted Thursday, October 18, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars This first Jonesy album was released in 1972. It contains heavy and sometimes dirty progressive rock. They can be compared to bands like Spring, Nektar or Gracious. The album opens with No Alternative. A strong rock song with heavy riffing and good guitar work. Heaven is a ballad with very tasty mellotron lines. The shorter Mind of the Century is another rocker with a prominent role for the tron again. 1958 is the most progressive track, with complex rhythms and good instrumental parts. Pollution is another slow track with some faster parts and the ever present mellotron. The album closer, Ricochet, is heavier again. It has a good melody and is a cheerful song. No surprise this was released as a single. In conclusion this is a very good and versatile album with heavy, not too complex music. And an important part is given to the mellotron, which is played excellent.
Report this review (#156782)
Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars Jonesy’s first album has been referred to as reminiscent of early King Crimson, something band leader John Evans-Jones has readily acknowledged. Having ‘Islands’ engineer Andy Hendrikson fill the same role on this record probably didn’t hurt either. But the first track sounds more like early Kansas to me, only with mellotron replacing Steinhardt’s violin and Jones’ lead guitar being a bit harsher than anything I ever heard out of Livgren.

Like Kansa, the band opens with a rocker but quickly shows their progressive side with the more restrained and complex “Heaven” as the second track on the album. This one sounds more like a mellow ELP song, but again in the manner or Kansas the theme is sort of spiritual with Jones relating the tale of a man entering the pearly gates who is relieved to discover from the gatekeeper that he will be admitted. Jones offers up fairly simple but striking guitar work amid Jimmy Kaleth’s piano and mellotron. This is a subdued song but one that demonstrates the band’s range and appreciation of symphonic-leaning rock.

“Mind of the Century” shows the unevenness of the band though, as it is a fairly unexceptional rock number with little to distinguish it besides the thudding drum/bass line that persists throughout.

The King Crimson label comes from tracks like “1958” and “Pollution” with their jazz-leaning timing and complex, dissonant notes that are probably impressive to other musicians but not as approachable for the casual listener. “Pollution” wanders back into late-sixties earthy folk in the second half of the tune, an interesting transition that nonetheless dates the song somewhat.

“Ricochet” was originally recorded as a single, and Jones has stated he was disappointed that it was included on the album. I can hear why as it doesn’t fit the general mood of the other tracks. This one features heavy organ passages and vocals on the vein of the Doobie Brothers or even Blood, Sweat & Tears. Interesting note though, as a single this was supposedly the first song ever released with quadraphonic sound. Pretty advanced for a b-list band in the early seventies.

The CD reissue includes three songs from the band’s second album ‘Growing’, including the title track of that record. This one and “Hard Road” are more straightforward heavy rock with fewer keyboards and more vocals than most of the rest of the album, while “Jonesy” is a lengthy instrumental that again hearkens back to King Crimson’s more experimental side but is also likely improvised for the most part. This one also includes brass that was not present on the debut album, and I suspect the track was filler on the second record for the most part.

Like I said, Jonesy was a b-list prog band who didn’t have near the press or recognition of contemporaries like Genesis, King Crimson, Yes or ELP. But their debut is a decent record, though not great, and would probably appeal to many fans of heavy prog at least. Three stars with the caveat that while none of these tracks are poor, none of them are exactly great either.


Report this review (#176317)
Posted Tuesday, July 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars JONESY were an important piece of the early stage in UK's Progressive rock attack.The band was formed in 1971 by brothers Trevor and John Jones,while the original line-up included also Terry Cutting and Berbie Hugley.However this line-up wouldn't live on.Trevor had arguments with his brother John related to the band's musical direction and now the line-up included new members David Paul (bass/vocals), Jim Payne (drums/percussion) and Jimmy Kaleth (various keys/vocals).With this formation JONESY recorded their first album ''No alternative'' in 1972.

The eponymous opener sets you in the general mood of the album with its rockin' riffs,great breaks and intense percussion work,typical of the early-70's UK Prog bands.In ''Heaven'' things seem to soften,as this is a good ballad with nice bluesy guitars,smooth vocal lines and calm mellotron throughout.The busy musicianship returns on ''Mind of the century'',a piece in the vein of early-KING CRIMSON with fine mellotron scratching and good interplays between guitars,rhythm section and keys.''1958'' is maybe the most complex track JONESY ever composed.8 minutes of trully busy and complicated rock music with an almost jazzy guitar approach and some frenetic drumming leading the way.''Pollution'' contains also tons of mellotron, but this time its the guitars and bass which take over,delivering alternating tempos and constant battles between them,reminding GRACIOUS at their best.''No alternative'' closes with ''Ricochet'', where the funky side of JONESY is mixed up with the nostalgic sound of the mellotron in a very satiisfying way.Summing up,this is definitely a very decent release of early- 70's prog rock,with lovers of mellotron finally finding their paradise.Complicated musicianship, pretty good individual performances and a rockin' atmosphere is what you'll get purchasing this album.Recommended to dedicated fans of 70's rock/prog!

Report this review (#255035)
Posted Tuesday, December 8, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
2 stars 2,5 stars, really. Promising debut work by this english outfit that makes a quite elaborated heavy prog. Their sound is not very original on this album, but at least they prove they are capable of bigger things in the future. The use of a mellotron to make it sound like a Hammond organ is interesting, but hardly better than the real thing. I was told they have King Crimson influences, but you wouldn´t tell that judging by No Alterntive. Ok, there are some nice mellotrons runs but so do many other bands at the time. The KC parts might lie in their latter effords.

The instrumentation is very good, although I found the songwriting here a bit too common. Vocals are only average at best, even if the lyrics seem to be quite clever. The group does not seem to know exactly where they are going to and it shows. The last track for example is a funky number that seems to be more like what Chicago was doing at the time than to anything King Crimson ever did. But the songs themselves are ok.

Since I had an old vinyl copy of the album, I can´t say anything about the CD sound, if it improved the overall quality or not. The original production was only adequate.

Conclusiom: interesting debut, but still green. It makes you want to hear their follow ups to see how much far Jonesy went.

Report this review (#267434)
Posted Monday, February 22, 2010 | Review Permalink
4 stars One of British progressive rock's best kept secrets, Jonesy issued three excellent albums during the mid- seventies all in the space of two years. Sadly, however, success would elude Jonesy as the same way it did for many of their peers and they would be terminally overshadowed by he big boys of the era such as Pink Floyd, ELP and Yes. However, despite a relatively small profile, Jonesy managed to build up a small-but-loyal following attracted to the group's eclectic style with the album's 'No Alternative', 'Growing' and 'Keeping Up' each displaying a broad range of sounds and textures indicative of seriously adept musicians. Released in 1972 on the Dawn imprint(also home to the likes of Gravy Train) 'No Alternative' featured a genuine mixed bag of musical tracks, with sombre ballads ('Every Days The Same'), technically tricky rockers ('1958'), maudlin mid-tempo epics ('Pollution') and even jazz-tinged heavy-prog fusion ('Mind Of The Century') peppering an extraordinarily complex selection of tunes. Jonesy's music also featured a series of trademark affectations that would carry on into both of their following releases, with rip-roaringly stretched guitar solo's, soothing mellotron washes and incisive lyrical observations(the environement, politics etc) showcasing a highly-talented outfit who really did deserve better from both the record-buying public and the musical critcs of the day. That said, Jonesy are one of a number of relatively-unknown mid-seventies prog outfits to reform in the 21st century thanks to the rising interest in all things progressive, and as a result the group's trio of fine albums are now being discovered and re-discovered by fans old and new. Of the three, 'No Alternative' features possibly the broadest stylistic range, with the beautifully-executed 'Pollution' , the anthemic title-track and the funky mellotron-soaked corker 'Ricochet'(a track sliced down to size for single release) proving the stand-outs selections. An excellent debut that demands multiple listens, 'No Alternative' is a fine slice of strangely- undervalued prog from a finely-tuned British outfit. In a word: Groovy! STEFAN TURNER, STOKE NEWINGTON, 2012

Report this review (#840294)
Posted Friday, October 19, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars Jonesy was never meant to play any role of significance in the history of prog. Just like many bands of whatever genre they played, sometimes got the chance to record and perform live but in the end it all fell through. In many cases it is understandable, in others a shame. Why is that, you wonder? Simply because, must be my reply, the music really is deserving of more attention. Jonesy is one of those bands whom Fate simply walked past, though they really ought to have become something of a household name in the world of prog. Not in Genesis or King Crimson kind of way but maybe in the same league as Gentle Giant or Nektar.

This, the first, of the bands three (if you do not count the fourth album made up by demos and rehearsals due to theft and lack of money) is really the crudest of them all but shows their potential. The recordings are not crystal clear and are not perfect but then again, what matters is the overall feeling and quality of the music itself. Me, not being an audiophile, thinks that that proof of the pudding is in the tasting, not the looks, and jonesy tastes delicious.

I think that jonesy may be best known for their extensive use of the mellotron. Just like Spring (and many of their contemporaries) the mellotron was used to great effect. The crude, distorted sound of this first album is to me heavenly. The fact that the mellotron sounds distorted at times makes it even more appealing. The interplay between the mellotron and fuzzed out and sometimes screaming guitar is excellent and bridges the early progressive rock with the early type of heavy metal, making it heavy and complex.

It is true that echoes of King Crimson are quite in abundance, especially on the epic and emotive "Heaven", one of the highlights of the album. The use of mellotron evokes KC aswell. There are other sources of inspiration on here aswell, or similarities to other groups. I mentioned Spring but I could add Tonton Mocoute, Skin Alley, Gentle Giant and others. Whether it is by chance or by intention these similarities occur I do not know but being from the same country and operating in the same era i guess influences and ideas changed hands quite often. This is not to say that Jonesy lack in personality. They do possess one of their own and that personality is truly enthralling. The sound of this album is dated and very much of it's time but that is not something to dread. This is part of progressive history and as such it is magnificent.

While the albums is very much on the hard rock side of things, there are mellow exceptions such as "Heaven" and "Pollution". These are epic, long tracks with beautiful mellotron and very emotive soundscapes. The track "Ricochet", also released as a single, is a tremendous track. Really rough, crude and blessed with wah-wah guitar. Superb.

I think this is a great album from the pioneering days of prog and konesy needs to be heard and recognized. A great but forgotten/ overlooked gem. Four solid stars from me.

Report this review (#1264641)
Posted Saturday, August 30, 2014 | Review Permalink

JONESY No Alternative ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of JONESY No Alternative

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.