Smaller and bigger

Manna and the Devils (Independent)
Peace in the Jones

By David Lilly

If you, music-loving reader, have heard the 1997 Peace in the Jones release, Just Stop to Listen, be prepared to hear a different band when you hear their new EP, Manna and the Devils. That's primarily due to PitJ being a different band. The first CD was done by a jam-band unit of several members and included keyboards. Their new CD is the work of a power trio. Before you cringe, thinking of ELP, GFR, or lyricist/guitarist Tommy Sturgeon, singer/bassist Kirk Whitehouse and drummer Mike Loscalzo remolding Cream songs for a modern world, I implore you to give this version of Peace in the Jones a chance.

"Balancing" kicks off the show here, as guitar, bass and drums burst and gallop from the speakers, followed soon by Whitehouse's hopped up vocals. "Focus" may be one of the ultimate PitJ tunes. Mind you, probably every one of their songs is introspective, each having its own perspective or angle on inner space. If "To focus on my life is hard/It's a constant battle/ It's a constant beating/ It's a constant need within my mind" inspires rather than exhausts you, this is definitely a record for you. If the lyrics wear you out, "focus" on the music and gorgeous harmonies to lift you. Or move on to "Snake." Whitehouse sings Sturgeon's lyrics of observation and introspection, "I saw the snake/ I saw it shed its skin/ I realized the snake could be itself though not in the same skin." Again, if mental dissection isn't your preference, there's a good time to be had by wrapping yourself in the music and harmonies.

Anybody who appreciates good grooves will dig this album. If you happen to be a psychology major, whether collegiate or layman, you'll really enjoy chewing on the lyrics of this disc, particularly with the music accompanying them.

Peace in the Jones has a website waiting for your visit. The address is www.peaceinthejones.com. If you wanna know more about manna (without the devils), you probably need to read some Carl Jung. Barring that, you could email PitJ's lyricist. Sturgeon welcomes your feedback, comments and inquiries via peaceinthejones@peaceinthejones.com. Not snooty in the least, his friendliness matches his intellect.