As most students will have discovered, Coventry isn’t exactly the musical hub or fiery core of culture that we all wish it was. Amongst the dreary high rise buildings, ever-stretching suburban roads and the dispiriting dominance of Primark in the city centre, all traces of creativity seem to have been sapped up a long time ago. The Enemy, for example, and their pitiful excuse for music, hail from Coventry. Stylusboy – Steve Jones’s acoustic-fuelled alter ego – is also a local, often playing gigs in pubs in the Coventry and Leamington areas. For him to have embarked upon a musical career whilst immersed in such a soulless environment, is very brave indeed. Fortunately, his perseverence and his efforts haven’t gone to waste.
His debut EP, Fingerprint, is a heartfelt emotional journey, interwoven with pretty harmonies and echoes of melancholy. Like many singer-songwriters, Stylusboy relies mostly on the raw honesty of his lyrics – like “life is not all about roses and lovehearts” – and his melodies, both of which intertwine throughout the record to make something charmingly natural and easy to listen to.
At no point in the EP does he try to be something that he’s not – there are no inane and unnecessary remarks on politics or popular culture, for instance – but his music still has a sense of purpose, conveyed through the simple emotions enveloping his melodies. ‘Stopclock’, arguably the best song on the record, is a heartwrenchingly tender song, shrouded in melancholy and hope, whilst ‘Back to the Start’ is more upbeat, reminiscent of buskers sitting on street pavements and singing their hearts out.
Although the EP has nothing innovative – it is, after all, just another record from another singer-songwriter – there is something intrinsically meaningful about it. Even big-shot music site ‘God is in the TV’ has picked up on Stylusboy, commenting that he mixes “a sense of the melancholy akin to Aqualung, with a sense of the melodic that recalls the lighter side of Ryan Adams.” It’s the perfect soundtrack for a rainy day or a lazy Sunday morning, simple and charming, scraping together all the pieces of your soul that you thought you lost back in Coventry.