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Reviews

The Junipers
Paint The Ground Mof Gimmers , April 24th, 2014 08:41

On the stroke of British Summer Time, The Junipers dropped the vinyl version of their newest LP Paint The Ground, doling out instant vitamin D after the bleak midwinter. As is often the case with Leicester’s premier popspsyche outfit, they delivered just when it was needed, channelling the music of Curt Boettcher’s Sagittarius, and Macca at his most dreamy. Just like that, the flowers started to bloom.

While rock music is currently obsessing over the cocaine 70s and 80s, flitting between wanting to be Fleetwood Mac (hey Haim!) or Blind Faith (you okay Arctic Monkeys?), a mini psychedelic revival has been going on, unfreezing like a brook in spring.

While bands like Stealing Sheep and Gruff Rhys’ various solo projects get the attention, bands like The Junipers quietly plug away in their burrow, radiating pure sunshine and good vibes. As unfashionable as it is, this band are determined to apply their love of pop music to an uncynical, good vibration, with a whole load of craft and bespoke nursery melodies drifting through multi-layered, hooky 60s pop.

But don’t expect Beatle Boots, wild fuzz guitar or grand concepts. Album opener ‘Look Into My River’ doesn’t so much herald its arrival, but rather, creeps into view before flourishing into achingly gorgeous low-lit mellotron goodness, making way for the more jangly freakbeat of ‘Dandelion Man’.

Elsewhere, the band go from scrapbook shedpop (think Alfie’s first Twisted Nerve EPs) with ‘Antler Season’, to the bounding fizz of ‘Song To Selkie’. It isn’t all sunshine and lollipops though – cut in the grooves is a woozy, unsettling element. ‘They Lived Up In The Valley’ is a glorious pop-folk song, which flickers with the hue of a Cold War public information film, which made Boards of Canada such a seductive proposition.

From the first album Cut Your Key, through the singles and EPs that led to Paint The Ground, the careful precision of The Junipers, and the unswerving dedication to the feeling of the 60s, rather than a tedious facsimile, has seen the band turn into one of the greatest bands to grace the underground. If you’re a fan of El Goodo, Kevin Ayers, Shack, Emitt Rhodes or Broadcast, you’ll fine tons to love.

The shallowest part of the stream may make the loudest noise, which means the sumptuous quiet groove of The Junipers can be easily missed – and that is the lousy state of indie music in 2014. The self-promoters and loudmouths, the manic pixie dream girls with their guitars and faux-awkwardness, the cosmic disco bullshitters and blokerock boors are all you can hear in the swill of popular rock, but in that moment when everyone has shouted themselves hoarse, a band like The Junipers appears, with their perfect little symphonies, melting the hearts and minds of anyone who stumbles across them.

If you like pop in the pure form, delicate as it is catchy, you need to let The Junipers in.

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