Juniper Nights

Oxford quartet Juniper Nights have a new 5 track EP called “Human Rush” in the offing and for once I’m stumped for many influences. Opening track “All At Once” has a crunchy guitar riff in the intro, giving way to a simple drumbeat and a mellow clear vocal. Away from the lyrics, it is fierce and powerful in equal measure, however vocally it pales back somewhat. The humming midpoint I find unnecessary; almost grating and it adds nothing to the overall song, where say a noodly bridge might have been a better choice. That said the guitars towards the end rescue the song and the ending is sharp. I’m reminded a little of the pre-Britpop era Indie (circa 91/92) but no one band comes to mind, so I’m curious to hear more.

Recent release “Antidote” comes next, opening with gentle drumming before equally gentle guitars kick in with a mellow, soft vocal that immediately takes centre stage. Whether observational lyrically or just a work of pure fiction it has a heartfelt honesty to it, gently easing to its conclusion.

“Bloodflow” stays in the same vein with hints of early “Pumpkins” in the opening bars. Mellow, whimsy, tranquil, it’s all three while occasionally coming to life. I’m guessing it’s a personal song written for a partner but it never really catches alight. The clear audible vocal towards the end is matched to some experimental sounds, but frankly goes nowhere and leaves you disappointed.

“Lemonhead” while staying mellow, at least has a few layers to it. Experimental yes, but the heavier layers make it stand out more and I’m reminded in places of Catherine Wheel at their most experimental. The strained guitars and vocal changes are key here. Just a shame then that the bridge is overlong as it has the makings of a great song. The scratchy, searing guitars rescue the track however and the ending leaves you wanting to hear more of the same.

“The Lighthouse” returns to the more mellow sound on this collection. I’m thinking of the sights and sounds of an early morning, down by the river and the tranquillity of one’s surroundings. There’s something of an eerie feel to the song and I assume written to a friend/lover. The Hammond sound in the background is a nice gentle touch and some simple snare hitting to match. Experimental once more and the way it fades to its conclusion is a neat touch. I just wonder how they will follow this, which direction they will go be it harder or continuing to experiment. All the elements are here, I’m just not hugely enthused.

Juniper Nights

Track Listing
All At Once
The Lighthouse

Band members
James Gallagher – Vocals/Guitar
Zach Wilmott – Guitar
Marty Melvin – Bass
Tom Lindsay – Drums



Review by Ross A. Ferrone

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