The Junipers “Red Bouquet Fair”
Few bands understand the instrumental and melodic subtleties of late ‘60s baroque sunshine pop better than The Junipers. The band from Leicester, gives us their third album Red Bouquet Fair as it reminds the listener of Curt Boettcher, Harpers Bizarre and The Millennium. Opening with the light instrumental of the title track, then the piano lights up the ballad “Follow Loretta” and the gentle vocals of “Dig Me Up” include light psychedelic effects enhancing the catchy melody. This approach follows through on most of the music here, Mellotron, harmonies and spacey lyrics giving “Burning Pages” a dream-like soothing quality.
Some additional highlights include “Like A Merry Go Round” and the hushed harmonies of “Summer Queen” and “When the Bird Has Flown.” What is missing is the stronger guitar presence found on past albums. Still this is a highly recommended collection of music.
Maryjo Mattea “Four Minute Symphonies”
MaryJo is a musician who deals in folk, pop, rock and punk genres, but always with a melodic touch to her songwriting. With this EP the Four Minute Symphonies showcase her strong vocals and understated electric guitar accompaniment in the title track.
“Rocket Science” is an obvious single, with a hummable chorus and strong guitar solo in the break. “We Were Here” is a frantic ’90s pop theme that would work well in a sitcom’s credits. Mattea’s piano torch songs are impressive, if a bit overly dramatic. I prefer the bouncy “Wish I May” which falls in the power pop category with its hand claps and harmonies. Give it a chance on your play list.