Jupiter in Velvet – The World Didn’t Start With U
If you want to hear the envelope pushed in terms of what rock music can be, one man band Jupiter in Velvet aims to please on The World Didn’t with U. It’s hard to believe this is the work of a single player, because there is so much going on it sounds like a quartet or quintet is ripping it full blast.
Despite a lush, trippy trance background, The World Didn’t Start with U is a rollicking rock record that places guitar first and everything else second. These are songs that are practically screaming to be played live with fists pumping and lights raised high (during the gentle moments). The title song is a real gumbo of different ideas and textures, coming off like Stabbing Westward (circa Darkest Days) with a hearty hard rock backbone. Jupiter has got a powerful voice has the lyrics climb to a caterwaul and guitars exploded around him with pyrotechnic riff/lead counterpoints. Industrial artists should take notes as the genre could benefit from a lot more guitar in the mix. “Alpha me Omega U” draws down the sun in a storm of dense bass lines rising and post-rock guitar ambience, building itself up block by block to a barnburner chorus; a tactic that is thusly repeated on the “ain’t broke, don’t fix it” crunch of “The Beauty of U” and “When Love Rules the Day.”
“Turning Electric” is rough and tumble from the very first squealing power chord. Jupiter’s voice crawls and writhes, his caustic yet emotive melodies propel the song and don’t really have any obvious points of reference when it comes to trying to find a similar vocalist to compare him to (a good thing in a cookie-cutter music world). The bump and grind of the synthesized drums and whirling keyboard leads are the complete opposite of the hot-blooded guitar riffs. “Martini Rock” is also dealing prime hand of ace guitar work, akin to how an expert poker player deals out the deck. There is a ragged, charmingly loose feel to this tune that borrows its angular shades from the punk rock manual.
Perhaps the record’s greatest anomaly is the harmonica-infused, gravel road acoustics of “No Matter Where U Go.” You wouldn’t hear Trent Reznor messing with textures like this. Even the lyrics play with common blues tropes about long for love that you can’t have and the pain that comes with walking away. The album doesn’t really fit with the rest of the material, although in a strange, offbeat way it does. Opening with a swaggering groove you might expect from a spy film soundtrack, “Camden Shuffle” is an alchemical hard rock tune with heavy gear shifts into aggressive riffs and distorted punk snarls. It’s a great setup for the nastiest riff-filled gem on the album, “The Everything and the Nothing,” which applies a few psychedelic vocal effects for good measure, practically creating a time machine back to the 70s in the process. “Eat Your Fear” continues hammering home ragged amplifier worship. Another unusual track is the straight balladry of “I Love You Anyways,” which rarely rises above a whisper and employs more clean guitars than anywhere else on the album. Rounding out this masterpiece, “Drive in2 My Sea” is a gorgeous, starlight tune that is filled with soothing delay, reverb and echo effects. It is an agile, constantly changing update on the shoegaze genre and a perfect end to a pretty much perfect album.
Jupiter in Velvet compensates for any minor shortcomings with great songwriting, organic instrumentation and passion forged vocals that give the music a signature sound. He is a progressive-minded musician and there is no doubt that this record is better than many debuts.
9 out of 10 stars.