Howard Jones - Cross That Line [Expanded Deluxe 3CD & DVD Set

Howard Jones – Cross That Line [Expanded Edition]

Released in 1989, Cross That Line saw the twilight of Howard Jones’ chart career. The music maintains the high standard he always set, though time and the oncoming of Britpop meant his time had passed. The music is still great and, despite the few tell tale ’80s motifs, an entertaining listen. The ’80s, I tend to think, was the decade that time forgot, my love turning new nostalgic music more often than current, although Mr Jones (along with Nik Kershaw) provided me with good entertainment. This is a synth-driven album in the proto-guitar-driven era, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it though, and had all the charts and divisions we currently have existed then it might be better remembered. Not wishing to be cruel, it brings to mind the drummer/drum machine jokes, as no amount of beating will alter the machine’s rhythm. Thirty years later I would say that the drummer you have to feed has more heart and soul.

I like the two openers The Prisoner and Everlasting Love, even though they seem more at home mid-decade. Powerhouse, in all its multiple forms found here, seems to be State of Independence meets Duran Duran, again okay, but two minutes later, I cannot remember it. Last Supper does tick the memory buttons though, a really nice ballad, and a tune that does linger.

The title track Cross That Line has a synth-meets-jazz vibe and I rather like it. Out of Thin Air follows, a more than pleasant piano-based piece, in an album that sticks to synth core values it stands out – more skill, less programming and a strong instrumental track.

Guardians of the Breath is really nice, with a feel of both Japan – country and band – at its worst it is a really nice chill out track. Starting from the beginning, the album progresses as if Howard is saying “walk with me through my life”, approaching middle age, indeed a waltz through time, Fresh Air Waltz delivering with style and panache.

This, I think, was Howard Jones’ transitional album. He starts out with pop of the early eighties and does Cross That Line into a more adult presentation of his music. To me, this is clearly demonstrated by Wander to You and the surreal Those Who Move Clouds. It is here that I feel growth has been achieved, producing something longer lasting. Two really tasty tracks.

Modern Man is a bit of a flashback, though I have to say quite a grown reflection of that distinguished past, and the same again with The Brutality of Fact. If you are a fan of Howard, you will enjoy the growth, Cross That Line is quite a strong album in that sense; the numerous mixes and remixes, though interesting, add very little, there is no ‘Woah!’ You have to listen to this mix moment.

The booklet is useful and informative – personnel, the studio, breakdown of songs, etc. – actually a good read. Here in 2020, Mr Jones continues, plus numerous appearances, and I suspect still bunkered down and recording. It would be interesting to hear. In the meantime, the core of this album is a good and worthy record of 1988/9.

Disc One: CD

01. The Prisoner (4:38)
02. Everlasting Love (4:16)
03. Powerhouse (3:26)
04. Last Supper (5:18)
05. Cross That Line (4:42)
06. Out Of Thin Air (3:07)
07. Guardians Of The Breath (7:34)
08. Fresh Air Waltz (3:59)
09. Wanders To You (5:08)
10. Those Who Move Clouds (5:46)
~ Bonus tracks:
11. Modern Man
12. The Brutality Of Fact
13. Power Of The Media
14. Powerhouse (Danny D 12” Edit)

Disc Two: CD
01. The Prisoner (Alternative 7″ Mix)*
02. Everlasting Love (Julian Mendelsohn Mix)*
03. Modern Man (Early Mix)*
04. Powerhouse (7″ Instrumental Mix)*
05. Fresh Air Waltz (Early Mix)*
06. The Prisoner (The Portmeirion Mix)
07. Rubber Morals
08. Have You Heard The News?
09. Powerhouse (Danny D 7″ Edit)
10. The Prisoner (Us 7″ Edit)**
11. Everlasting Love
(Original Mix – Aka The Institute Mix)**
12. Cross That Line (Early Mix)*
13. Powerhouse Of Love (Early Mix)*
14. The Prisoner (Ac Edit)*
15. Powerhouse (Danny D Acid Mix Edit Version 1)*
* Previously Unreleased
** Previously Unreleased Digitally

Disc Three: CD
01. Everlasting Love (Instrumental Mix)*
02. The Prisoner (Battery Studio Mix 1)*
03. Powerhouse (7″ Alternative Mix)*
04. Everlasting Love (Julian Mendelsohn Tv Mix)*
05. The Prisoner (Original Album Mix)*
06. Cross That Line (Marquee Rehearsal, 18th June 1988)*
07. Powerhouse (Marquee Rehearsal, 18th June 1988)*
08. Rubber Morals (TV Mix)*
09. Everlasting Love (Alternative Institute Mix)*
10. The Prisoner (Instrumental Mix)*
11. Powerhouse (TV Instrumental Mix)**
12. Everlasting Love (808 Mix)
13. Powerhouse (Danny D Acid Mix Edit, Version 2)*
14. Everlasting Love (Peter Collins Master Mix)*
15. Powerhouse (Alternative Album Mix – Aka Danny D Delay Mix)*
* Previously Unreleased

Disc Four: DVD
01. Interview with Howard Jones May 2020:
• Creating Cross That Line
• Track By Track Commentary
02. Everlasting Love (Promo Video)
03. The Prisoner (Promo Video)
04. Everlasting Love (Alternative Version) (Promo Video)

Too numerous to list…

Record Label: Cherry Red Records
Catalogue#: PCDEXRED813
Date of Release: 9th October 2020 (originally 1989)

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