Jukebox the Ghost - Everything Under the Sun
Jukebox the Ghost, somewhat fittingly, sound a lot like a haunted music player. Perhaps one that resides in the offices of a blog such as, say, Brooklyn Vegan, where it sits in a dusty corner, whirring to life at night, blaring a veritable treasure trove of CD-Rs and samplers from New York buzz bands from the year 2001 onwards. The jukebox is the keeper of a rich musical archive of the "scene", from the early cod-Strokes era right up modern-day to Vampire Weekend-knock-offs. (Bishop Allen went to great lengths to keep their recordings as far away as possible. By writing good songs.)
That is, believe it or not, the best way to describe the sound of Everything Under The Sun, the band's second album. It is by no means a bad sound, no sir; there is a reason why compositions of this sort have been lighting up a thousand Wordpress posts years before We Are Scientists were even a glimmer in Keith Murray's whiskey glass.
Jukebox... are eager to try their hand at every variation on this "style" of music, the first few tracks being laced with Rapture-party-synths, vocals recalling Battles whilst they still had a singer, and, admittedly, some solidly catchy tunes. However they soon get bored of that, and move on to the likes of Born Ruffians' indie-rock-with-literary-pretensions. Ditch the skinny jeans, here comes Manhattan rock with elbow-patches! Why, they even manage some Grizzly Bear harmonies on 'So Let Us Create'! It's enough to make a Gossip Girl music supervisor's iPod weep.
The third "movement" of Jukebox the Ghosts' symphony of the Big Apple goes off-book, and is a pretty straight tribute to the music of Ben Folds (specifically, his concept album Mangum Opus with Ben Folds Five, The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner), going so far as to ape both the singer's vocal and piano style. Sadly, they are lacking both the singer's specific wit and imagination.
In fact, whilst they're clearly accomplished musicians, who've done their homework, and have a distinction when it comes to knowledge of their forebear's talents, what Jukebox the Ghost are really lacking is that indefinable, indelible thing: the, if you'll excuse the invocation of SyCo, X-Factor, that would make them worth listening to. The umph, The chutzpah. And such and such. In an increasingly crowded blogosphere, they've not the muscle to elbow their way in.
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