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  Let It Lie  
  The Jupiter Watts  
  Florine Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:

Earlier this year I encountered Atlanta-based The Jupiter Watts for the first time, despite the fact that they have been playing around for a while. Although they formed in 2001, this quartet only recently released their second album, Let It Lie. In a reflection of my experiences with their live shows, this album is so fully realized that I wonder how I managed to miss them for so long.

Opening track True North is a short instrumental which features a somewhat unexpected chord progression. This gives the song a menacing feel, which is heightened by the tom heavy sound of the drums. It quickly builds into a joyous catharsis, which subsequently gives way to Strange Things Happen Every Day, perhaps the most immediately memorable song on the album. It is a nicely done slow tune with lots of guitar effects to counteract the higher-pitched vocals of guitarist James Trigg. The almost languid pace highlights the sonically full but precise sound which characterizes The Jupiter Watts.

The next song, Atom Mine, is my favorite song on this album, and it encapsulates what's so very good about this band. It has a jangle ala Black Lipstick, albeit with a real singer in the form of The Jupiter Watts's other vocalist, Ramon Wals. And, again, the opening verse contains, again, an unexpected melodic progression on the line "Tell me where you been/ I haven't seen you in a long long while". Then the harmonies kick in, yet there is enough difference to realize that there are two people singing. The song then builds into a loud chorus, before falling back to the precise minimalism of the verse. Behind it, the basswork holds the basic song structure together while drummer Brian Weinberg keeps things moving. Finally, after a couple of times around (including a repeat of the opening verse), the song restructures itself as the band chants the song title, and then the music builds as it gets louder and more intense. An excellent tune which is way too much fun, and probably will lead someone to say that this band is Velvet Underground-esque .

Let It Lie continues along, demonstrating the skill of the band For instance, the nearly 8 minute long Get Into the Ground begins with a solo guitar line, which then fades into the mass of instruments, before finally moving into vocal line at the nearly 3 minute mark. It's a song that many bands would kill to write, with its overwhelming sonic delivery punctuated by occasional breaks. Likewise, Thinking Bad Thoughts is just a nice little pop song which reminds me of a male-dominated version of Lazy, or even Atlanta-based Luigi, delivered over layers of instrumental sound which swirl around the listener.

Can't Say No begins off-kilter, but then the band moves into a rolling 6/8 tune, with clattering cymbals punctuating occasional soft spots. Keeping with their sense of the unexpected, the chorus doesn't feature the anticipated soaring vocals, but rather a very even "Cant Say No." In contrast, Only Senseless isn't like anything else on the album. It is a rollicking, almost punk tune, which lets drummer Weinberg break loose. Keeping with this spirit, the recording itself is vaguely hollow, much like some early punk recordings.

The last two songs on Let It Lie finish the album strongly. Solar Eclipse is a toned down affair, which begins without the layers of effects. Instead, the bouncing bassline provides a focus which contrasts with a low guitar riff. Then, finally there is Ghost of Orion, a roughly two and a half minute track with lots of spacey effects over what sounds like an answering machine message. It builds into a nice driving instrumental, which acts as an effective bookend to True North, the opening track.

Surprisingly, considering the length of many of the songs, Let It Lie does not feel like a long album. And when it's over, I really would like to hear more. As The Jupiter Watts have a sound that is a perfect match for a steamy, hurricane-ridden summer, this album seems destined to remain in my car stereo for a while.

Related Links:

The Jupiter Watts in concert -- opinions by 2 different Minions:
    Tracers saw them on Sat.31.Apr.2005
    Postlibyan saw them on Sun.29.May.05


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