Everything we do is shaped to some degree by who we are and what we have been through. This can be especially evident in music, as the artist’s choices of expression shine a direct light on their outlook. The man who would reinvent himself as Jupiter in Velvet has had a twisty road indeed, veering from a road leading squarely through the halls of higher academia and plunging into his own microcosm of music.
The music he has created over the course of several albums so seamlessly blends different sounds that on first listen they glide past your ears in a pleasing way. Upon further listening, you realize he is often mashing textures together that should be rather jarring gear changes, yet it works. His emotive post-Bowie singing is a commanding presence, while it glides over shimmering acoustics that lurch into Brit-Pop single line distorted riffs, which get washed away with swelling Wah infused guitar solos. Often a single composition by Jupiter in Velvet has two or three different sections that could serve as a separate song on their own. The fact that they mesh so seamlessly is a testament to his overall vision.
Beautiful New Day is the seventh album for this UK-by way of-America songwriter, and the multi-instrumentalist continues to impress not only with glorious songs, but stellar production. The clarity and separation of the instruments is a breath of fresh air in a world of over compressed, brick wall sound jumbles.
“Heavy Like a Brick” starts off the album with a stomping guitar that somehow glides into a lilting psychedelic melody that to my mind kind of shows the head space that late sixties bands like Deep Purple must have been in before transitioning to their heavier seventies aesthetics.
“Metatonia” is a stand out track whose verse sections have me instantly tapping my foot every time I play it. The bass lays down an undeniable melody over the acoustic chords before getting to its chorus. This song has a magic to it.
“Kiss the Flame” sneaks in with a ‘Fascination Street-era The Cure’ vibe before slamming into a guitar groove that a band like The Struts probably wishes they had written.
Over the course of eleven songs Jupiter in Velvet both brings in new elements and yet keeps a cohesive vibe throughout Beautiful New Day. Do not muddle over your tired old playlist today and decide which songs you want to hear for the thousandth time. Be good to yourself, discover Jupiter in Velvet.
-Peter Harris, January 27, 2019.