Jupiter in Velvet – The World Didn’t Start With U
Jupiter in Velvet is not the name of a band but an artist from England with a deliciously schizophrenic sonic mash-up of varying genres on his latest release The World Didn’t Start with U. You’re playing with fire when you try ramming so many vastly differing compositions together, running a roughshod risk of ending with too much filler and no killer. Despite the clutter and a few half-baked songs, Jupiter’s risks equate to success more often than not.
Tagging this record with a genre is a Herculean task. After listening to the first three songs in their entirety (the title track, “Alpha Me Omega U” and “The Beauty of U” I frankly gave up on making a classification. Trying to pin Jupiter in Velvet down is like trying to nail Jell-O to the wall with a rubber mallet. You will just end up hitting yourself in the face. From the 70s steroid rock meets industrial on the opener to the 90s grunge of the Breeders’ kissed “Alpha Me Omega U” and “The Beauty of U’s” power guitar pop; it’s obvious you won’t be hearing the same tune twice. The brave choices made in song design simply give this recording a crossover status that should appeal to a wide spectrum of music fans.
Sometimes, the identity of a song switches several times within a single track like the sweet mixture of pop punk, new wave and alternative on the virile swing of “When Love Rules the Day.” At times the dynamic craftsmanship renders tunes that you’d expect to hear during a big stadium show. Then at other times you can smell the sweat, beer and smoke of a cutting edge underground dive, especially with the muscle flexing biker riffs of “Turning Electric” or the catchier, yet no less greasy “Martini Rock.” Heck, a coffee shop wouldn’t be an unheard of setting for the folky, harmonica and blissful singer/songwriter tendencies that “No Matter Where U Go.”
“Camden Shuffle” along with “The Everything and Nothing” again returns to the Harley engine roar of rock n’ roll’s humble roots with a slightly futuristic, pop industrial sheen polishing the metallic grind. With so many bombastic passages and ingenious shakedowns, the only disappoint is when the record culminates with the repeated use of restraint. Jupiter is fine a singer with a nasally, high-register voice totally suited to just about anything he plays but it’s within the album’s later going he seems to be struggling to find a monumental moment. “Eat your Fear” is okay, though leans towards filler; possessing neither a memorable vocal melody nor a mighty enough riff to get its point across. Though The World Didn’t Start with U isn’t a stranger to pop structure, the overly simplistic MTV-isms of “I Love U Anyways” is certainly too glossy to make a significant impact. These missteps could have been easily ignorable if the album ended by pushing down on the throttle. Sadly, “Drive in2 My Sea” treads calm, plaintive waters lacking a volume swell. None of these songs are even close to terrible, illustrating that Jupiter in Velvet on an off day is a lot better than many acts’ on a good one. All in all this is a very solid album that had me coming back for repeat listens even after the review was over.
8 out of 10 stars.