CD REVIEW: Jupiter in Velvet - Glitter on the Sun
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Jupiter in Velvet
Genre: Alternative Rock, UK Rock, Singer/Songwriter, Psychedelic Punk
Sounds Like: The Monkeys, They Might Be Giants, Franz Ferdinand, Death Cab for Cutie, Arctic Monkeys, Weezer, Phoenix, The Kooks
Technical Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Winded Songs, No Release Date, No Liner Notes, Mix, More solo Segments, Cover Art
It is 2014 and Jupiter In Velvet is back with his boldest and strongest album to date entitled ‘Glitter On The Sun’. It is a wide array of styles, colors, emotions and sounds that is all tied together into a cohesive effort through Jupiter’s vivid songwriting, his warm and passionate voice, and his unique life perspectives. The tone for the album is set by the enigmatic, yet extremely compelling opening song ‘So Automatic’. The first single ‘She’s So Sugar’ is a euphoric blast of energy & love of addictive proportions. A tune you will not be able to get out of your head. This is his third release to date.
First up is Track 1 “So Automatic” serves up an enticing rocked out, guitar ridden groove, meshed against hypnotic lyrical content, strong melody and impressive vocals from JIV. This intro track sets the tone rather well for a fun and highly charged-alternative rock CD like this. Track 2 "Anywhere But Here” presents a brilliant play on words which quickly takes flight with rocking lullaby that gradually builds into a passionate full tilt ballad complete with hypnotic vocal presence and a grand slam chorus. Track 3 “Bring Me Back 2 Life” serves up yet another hooky groove with its good time beat, and impassioned vocal feel, and thought provoking lyrical content. As these songs slowly unfolded I could hear many musical influences reminiscent of classic They Might Be Giants, Radiohead, Beck, Franz Ferdinand, and Death Cab for Cutie. I can also hear The Monkeys, Weezer, Arctic Monkeys, The Strokes, The Kooks and David Bowie. I would classify this music as Alternative Rock, with a slight aftertaste of Indie Rock/Pop. There is also an undeniable UK Psychedelic Punk Influence in there as well. The songs themselves are addictive, eccentric, fascinating, and infectious - all reflections of this artist. One can't notice intellectual, carefree but real subject matter delivered between the spoken words, with a heavy dose of satire on the side. The musicianship and production touches from all members are rock solid across the board. JIV sshowcases rock solid playing and songwriting skills. JIV plays all instruments on the CD himself. Besides the 4 piece standard you will also notice things like thick low end beats and rhythms, well placed Piano, ‘be-bop” harmonies, keyboard/synth, and lush harmonies. JIV is indeed an accomplished composer, musician, and singer/songwriter within his own right and he is no doubt the musical mastermind behind all this. Equally as impressive is the how he makes the (singer to listener) vocal connection with the songs. JIV really grooves and has a good and lean youthful look as well. JIV has an appealing timber and crisp, sharp baritone. His voice sounds in the vein of Davey Jones (The Monkeys). He’s a good guitarist, soloist and has a good vibrato to boot. All engineering aspects check out well. From impassioned “Just a Kiss Away” and “Get 2 Where U Want 2 Go” to rocking “She’s So Sugar” and “Simplify The Meaning” to rock steady “Don’t U Ever Stop” to psychedelic “Telling All the Words” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 13 “A Beautiful Day In Your Eyes” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.
I don’t care how the vocals sound within the mix. I could be wrong but it sounds like they are artificially pitched high. The mix though adequate lacks dynamic and needs more peak and valley. At times it’s comparable to a bold font in your face. Some of the beats and rhythms sound overly synthetic and a bit artificial. They sure don’t sound like live drums. I wish there were more solo segments along the way – I counted a few guitar solos. There are now liner notes on the 2 panel insert indicating who the Engineers assigned to the project were (Recording, Mixing, and Mastering). All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. CD cover art misses the mark for me. I can't find a release date anywhere on this CD either.
In close “Glitter on the Sun” by Jupiter in Velvet” is just a blast to listen to. In the end he is a highly original and fun-filled rock artist. The music is fresh and highly entertaining. It’s strong suit – its amazing fun-live-vibe JIV brings to the table. All songs are extremely melodic, passionate, and captivating. All these songs have a ring of truth to them and are boldly honest in a comical way. Each song possesses a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Jupiter in Velvet is a surging London based artist armed with a brilliant perspective an amazing UK flair that will inspire many.
Cyrus Rhodes Rhodes