This is the debut release of Frome, Somerset-based Americana – Country – Roots band, The Jupiter Owls.
Now those that know me, know I love me Folk, Roots, Americana, etc. I was practically schooled in it.
New bands that play this style of music walk a bit of a knife edge in developing the sound further or putting their unique spin on it. We’ve had Alternative, New, Nu and even Twisted folk & Country.
The Jupiter Owls don’t seem to be interested in any of that. Here we have a group of (refreshingly) older guys that seem to be playing a style of music that they enjoy and they wear their musical influences on their sleeve.
Drowning Man starts off with some haunting slide guitar building up with electric guitars & vocal harmonies reminiscent of Love or The Byrds.
Cape Cornwall evokes memories of James Taylor’s Country Roads, with soft vocals and catchy melody. The song is built up nicely and layered with some subtle slide guitar and harmonies.
‘Shake’ is another track that raises the tempo and mood of the album. In doing so it offers a bit of scope to the JO’s capabilities.
Fractual Line is a stand out track for me. Lovely ethereal vocals throughout and frontman John Libert plays to his vocal strengths. He has a similar timbre to Olly Knights of the Turin Brakes but I feel he sticks to his comfort zone on much of this album.
On first listen I found Long Way Home becoming a bit repetitive but then in comes a mandolin & strings to offer some much needed colour to the track and it really works. The song builds very well as a result.
Through all 11 tracks of this album you get shades of Bread, Nick Drake, Guthrie and I guess this is what the Jupiter Owls do. They’re not pretending to be something they’re not and they do exactly what they say on the tin. In fact, they do it quite well. There isn’t anything new here but what you do get is uncomplicated, accessible, ear friendly songs. As a result, you may find the tempo of the album a bit monotonous at times but there are some little gems on it.
Ryan Steele has been given a great back drop to layer up his guitar textures and slide playing.
Looking at their live videos they have a more than capable rhythm section in Kev Jeffries and Kevin Reed and I hope to see them utilised further in future recordings.
For more info, hop on over to JupiterOwls.com