I tend to blanch at the phrase ‘one hit wonder’, but sadly poor old Jyoti Mishra (aka WHITE TOWN) will probably always be identified with his against-run-of-play hit single ‘Your Woman’ and its’ attendant decent-selling album ‘Women in Technology’ released on Chrysalis/ EMI in 1997.
There again, while Mishra may not have dented the charts since, I doubt his fifteen minutes in the spotlight have actually affected him in too adverse a fashion. The reason the ‘hit’ seemed such a surprise at the time was because he came from a staunchly developed DIY background, so rather than chase his tail desperately trying for the elusive ‘massive’ follow up, he’s simply said “ta-ra” to the majors, retreated to his own space and continued to release relevant new material in his own time. Lest we not forget that while his last two albums (‘Peek and Poke’ and ‘Don’t Mention the War’) may not have been ‘headline’ releases, they both garnered plenty of critical acclaim.
Released on his own Bzangy imprint, his latest, ‘Monopole’ has plenty to recommend it too. Breezy and eminently personal, none of its’ 11 tracks busts the 4-minute mark, while sonically the menu is almost wholly pop-oriented and highly immediate. The fact Mishra is in the process of making a video for every track suggests he’s confident many of these little blighters could do the biz on the single front.
Brisk synth-popper ‘Cut out My Heart’ gets us underway, though the defiantly hurt lyric (“cut out my heart and throw that shit away/ I’m not gonna use it after today”) goes resolutely against the Moroder-like thrum of the music. Like most of what follows, it simply breezes past and while Mishra can sometimes veer a little close to tweeness for my liking (’Missing Her Again’, the Jack Peñate-ish ‘She’s a Lot Like You’), tracks like the pissed-off, almost Mary Chain-ish attack of ‘Have I Gone Too Far?’, acoustic confessional ‘I Don’t Want to Fall in Love Again’ and the wonderfully evocative, OST-style ‘Theme for Turku Central Station’ are all bracing and memorable on their own terms.
While it would be easy to suggest Jyoti Mishra came out of nowhere and went straight back there, ‘Monopole’ again reminds us that he has actually long since cracked the art of longevity and gives not a fig which way the fickle winds of the zeitgeist are blowing. Long may he retain his uncompromising stance.
Bzangy Records online