The Junipers "Cut Your Key"

The Junipers are songwriter Joe Wiltshire and vocalist Marc Johnston who, together with a group of friends in Leicester, make upbeat, chiming pitch perfect baroque and psychedelic pop with echoes of early Bee Gees, The Curiosity Shop and The Zombies. If you are looking for big loud electric guitar riffs, they are not here, but everything else is. Especially that McCartney baseline driven song structure. “Gordie Can’t Swim” opens with a Beatles meets Elephant Six collective retro sound, full of hooks that stick and harmonies that float along the melody. This sets the tone for the album, and despite a few slow instrumental breaks – it’s brilliant in every way. “Fly The Yellow Kite” is a shimmering pop confection that resembles a Wondermints composition. “Already Home” uses a Monkees-like country vibe with those impressive basslines and harmonies to great effect here and it’s a awesome pop song. Using a collection of instruments from of sitars, mellatrons, organs, kazoos, piano, strings, fuzz guitar will have fans of sunshine dappled psyche pop doing backflips. “Out of My Pocket” is adds a dash of prog organ to an acoustic guitar melody and, and “Sheena” is a very Wackers-like folk pop gem. Another standout is the Genesis-Klaatu beauty called “Song That Fades Away” with a sweet harpsichord solo in the middle. Other straight pop songs here “Mortimer” and “Sunnydown Avenue” resemble The Hudson Brothers in sound and spirit. The albums quieter moments concentrates on piano and gentle folk guitar similar to Elliot Smith.  If you don’t enjoy the retro-psyche pop genre then you should pass on this, however fans of Andrew Sandoval, The Pillbugs, and “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” will gobble this one up. There are so many layers of impressive instrumentation and arrangements here I’m letting this one into the top ten of 2008. Again, no filler on this impressive debut, and I’ve added two tracks to the Lala player on the right for you to hear.

The Junipers Website | My Space | Kool Kat Musik | Lala

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