Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Juice- Juice

Available at Barnes & Noble Summit Location

Recorded at After Digital Studios

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Juice in person. To clarify, it wasn’t after a show or just a random encounter on the street. I got to see these guys practice. And, for anyone who’s been in a band or been close to one, a good practice time is the artistic equivalent of talking to your significant other at three in the morning, telling them “no YOU hang up first…” It’s intimate, it’s real, it’s raw. And even though mistakes are made, they also make you stronger.

This simple fact might make me a bit biased towards Juice in my reviewing of their self-titled album, but so be it. I count myself lucky. But, to be as fair as possible, I’m going to try to remove myself from the experience of watching these guys sharpen their edge.

Anywho. Juice are about as authentic a band as you could ask for from the youth today. Actually, they’re more; they impress me: a jaded old listener of rock in all its various forms. To count them out simply because of their age (which won’t be mentioned too much further after this point), is only doing yourself a disservice. You’re missing out on the budding of a camaraderie amongst like-minded musicians who have a nice, round sound with electrifying edges. They love music, and they seem to love each other. When I listened to this album, I got the vision of laying on the back of a car with a friend or lover, looking up at the stars and hearing the band playing from inside the car. We’re in the middle of nowhere, and the sound is all that’s going on.

Juice’s debut, self-titled album is a small wonder. It’s seven songs long and is seven songs strong. The opening track, Get It Together is saying everyone’s crazy, but some are less crazy than others and the music reflects the frustration of this predicament. The second track, Tuscan Kiss is a finger-snapper of a track and harkens back to the earlier, stronger sound of David Byrne. Nine and Three Quarters is essentially the center piece of the album and a dreamy tribute to being in the band itself. At least that’s what I get out of it. If it’s not that, then it’s certainly no harm in thinking it’s so. Velcro Sweetheart is the track you listen to driving down a long stretch of road with the windows down and there’s no landmarks in sight. El-Gato De Inciendo reminds me of the sound of a band that might open for The Mars Volta, a Spanish summer song with a little bit of melancholy. Jazzy Jam (the first song I heard the guys play when practicing) is exactly as its name states. It’s also a perfect showcase of the individual members’ talents. And finally, Yitzi, a song that shares it’s name with the drummer of the band. And if by the end of the album you don’t understand all that implies, you’ve probably not been listening at all.

The members themselves are decent fellas, but here I want to focus on their actual ability to bring to the table what makes the music strong. Brent McCollough is the keyboardist and, surprisingly is a great companion piece to basist Aaron Shapiro, and instead isn’t the soundscapist that most keyboard players are. That duty falls to Michael Harp, one of the two guitarists. The other being David Brockington, who plays lead. But the one-two punch of all things groovy about Juice are the bassist, of course, and Yitzi Peetluk, the drummer. What makes Yitzi perfect for this band is that he clearly knows drums, but he also clearly loves drums. Which means that he plays from the gut. And with this he adds to the layers of talent that makes Juice stand out amongst so many throw-away bands playing the scene today. They do it because they love it. And when you play music because you love it, the charm that exudes from that passion takes over and the listeners are treated to something unique even if it’s not necessarily their thing. Juice are a band that are not only sure to do great things, they’re sure to do them for a long, long time. And here’s hoping the best for them!
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Reviews by Paul. If you would like to have your album featured, email
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