Album review taken from February 2001 issue of Broken Needle Magazine

Please Assume
Crash Position!

Hard on the heels of "Just Add Water," Jonas' new album leaves us wondering if he should have quit while he was ahead.

Listening to the latest Jonas album, one has to ask the classic rock and roll question, "Is it better to burn out, or fade away?" Some artists, like Madonna, hang on, despite obvious changes in their musical style. Others never quite live up to the quality of their initial offerings. The promise of their early recordings offered us hope for so much only to leave us disappointed. Sadly, this is the case with Jonas. "Fly Little Hedgehog," the sophomore release of independent recording artist Jonas, breaks the sound barrier in more ways than one. This cacophonous assortment of tunes has to leave one wondering about the intent of the performer. Who is this artist Jonas and why does he insist on following up his smash release "Just Add Water" with this easy listening tripe?

As a young writer, working in Portland Oregon for the now defunct music weekly Seeker, I spent several weeks touring with Jonas in support of his independently released album "Curse of the Seven Eyed Dwarf." During this swing through small venues in the Pacific Northwest, Jonas' talent was obvious. His blistering three hour sets were causing people to take notice of this young hotshot. His talent, his ego, everything about him seemed to suggest that he was poised on the brink of rock stardom. Regrettably, the performance on this current album bears little resemblance to the Jonas of the past.

Through the long years spent touring the northwest one might think Jonas' music would show strong influence from bands like Pearl Jam and Nirvana. Fans eager to hear more of the Seattle sound are advised to look elsewhere. Instead, his music seems to draw heavily on the unthreatening rock stylings of Neil Diamond. The result is "Fly Little Hedgehog." At best, it could be called the greatest rock and roll album ever written with dentists and elevator operators as its target audience! But, that would be giving it too much credit. This album suggests that Jonas is trying to be the next Billy Joel, but, unfortunately he sings like Billy Ray Cyrus. Jonas never quite lives up to the vocal ability he imagines for himself and songs like "Give Me the Power" and "The Perfect Revolution" fall short of their potential. His formerly sparse recordings, which gave the listener a glimpse into the artist's tortured soul, have been replaced by complex layers of unrelated noise. Take, for example, track ten, "All the Little Pieces." This unexciting offering is made all the more confusing by the addition of bubbling liquid.

High points on the album are few. The quirky "Anything" and its preceeding intro track get the album off to a promising start, but things begin to deteriorate quickly. By the time the listener reaches the final ponderous "How My World Changed," he is, as suggested in the song, ready for the performer to shuffle off this mortal coil. The additional, hidden, thirteenth track begs the question, why bother? In the end that question could be applied to this entire effort.

Here is an artist who's undiscovered talent roared to life a little less than a year ago. Sadly, the future looks dim. Undoubtedly there will be another album, but, as with so many other artists, the mourners are at the gates and there is a headstone with his name on it. His talent will be missed

Pauly Smithers