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Take Time


Jupiter Watts

  Two Sheds  
Release Date:


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EvilSponge has been following Atlanta band Jupiter Watts for a long time now. Over the years the band has evolved, as one would hope. Listening to this record and thinking back to that first time i saw them, all those years ago, i never would have guessed that a natural evolution would lead them to make slowcore post-rock. But here we are, and Take Time is just that: five songs in about forty minutes, meandering with no real hurry.

In the interest of full disclosure i should add that EvilSponge are, more or less, friends with Jupiter Watts. We hang out with the band when we end up at events together, know the members on a first name basis, and communicate with them on FaceBook. However, i want to assure our loyal readers that EvilSponge is impartial. The 'Watts know that it's nothing personal, and i would call them out if they stunk up the place. Fortunately they do not do that on this record.

The record starts with a twelve minute version of Let's Break the Curse, which has long been a personal favorite of their live shows. For two minutes the keyboards and guitars make strange noodling sounds, then suddenly Jared Welsh's bass comes in, clear and precise, and the band coalesces around it with a subtle drum tapping, some light guitars, and James Trigg's voice. I love the slow, loping beat of this song, the tingling keyboard drone, and the wandering, slow guitar lines that echo over top. This is a twelve minute song, but the loping pace and all the interesting layers going on make it seem shorter than that. It is over almost before i notice.

The Target, a light and delicate Ramon Wals song, is next. It starts with thumped drum, then a slightly echoing piano, and then strummed guitar and Wals's voice. It moves along a little more rapidly than the previous song, but is clearly in no hurry. Towards the end the keyboards go crazy, with layers of spacey whooshing sounds and some organ that somehow blend together very nicely as a backing for some loud(ish) guitar soloing

The 'Watts slow things back down on I Propose, a tune which positively crawls along with the precision of a Shipping News tune but none of the mathiness. Wals and Trigg split the vocal duties over a ponderously thunking bass riff and sparse drum part. Some strings get layered in, and this is a brilliant touch that i have not seen live. The strings, performed by Karen Jarvis, add a great layer of depth to this tune.

So far the songs have been rock songs, albeit stretched out, but the next tune, Ebb/Flow, is a little stranger, hinting closer to what Slint were doing in their quieter moments. I think of this as the Good Morning Captain song, as it moves under a weight of echo in a strange manner, much like that tune. It has a long intro of spacey guitars, then the drums come in, echoed, and Trigg's voice, faint and seemingly angry. At the end, Ebb/Flow gets a little jammy, with guitar distortion, spaced out keys, and clattering percussion.

Finally we wrap things up with One By One, aka, the "mouth organ" song that Jupiter Watts have been playing live for the past few years. Ramon Wals play acoustic guitar and James Trigg plays the organ, both also sing, and the sounds intertwine in slow, delicate ways. This song reminds me of something off of Automatic for the People, in that it has a certain melancholy urban Southern-ness to it. It is a really pretty song, and a wonderful way to end this mellow record.

One thing that i am most impressed with on this record is that Take Time is self-recorded. That is, the band built a studio together and spent a few years working on these songs. I have been following the various demos that have appeared on their blog, and this takes those demos and polishes them. They are not so shiny that you worry Brittany Spears will pop in on a verse, but the various sounds are all clear and balanced. They did a good job, and Atlanta bands don't always do good jobs of recording themselves.

Which leads me to the second thing i am impressed with, and that is Clay Fowler's keyboard work. I know that this is going to annoy many people (mostly keyboardists) but in 90% of all live settings (and 99.999% of self-recorded albums by Atlanta bands), keyboards get lost under the drums and guitarwork. In most cases, this instrument is mixed as a "slight accent that most people will never hear or care about", so actually hearing Mr. Fowler's contributions on the record is something of a revelation for me. It gives these songs another whole layer, and i like it. Fowler is doing some really interesting things -- who knew? I kid, only slightly. The keyboards are clearer and more integrated into the songs than they have ever been live, and i like what they add.

This album is available digitally, on CD, and on glorious vinyl. There is no reason not to pick one up, so get to it.

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Also on EvilSponge:
   Concert: Sat.31.Apr.05
   Concert: Sun.29.May.05
   Album: Let It Lie
   Concert: Fri.31.Mar.06
   Festival Performance: Corndog-o-rama 2006, Day 3
   Album: The Jupiter Watts
   Concert: Sat.19.May.07
   Festival Performance: Corndogorama 2007, day 3
   Dunch Performance: Sun.6.Apr.08
   Dunch Performance: Sun.1.Mar.09
   Concert: Sat.6.Feb.10
   Concert: Fri.21.May.10
   Concert: Sat.23.Apr.11


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