Juice – [Album]

Monday, 29 July 2013

The problem with rock n' roll and the new bans and records which have come along over the last few years is that it has all attempted to diversify so much that a lot of it has just ended up becoming static in the process. Everyone seems to want to really stand apart from the pack and the first way to do so has been to add some oddball extra sound which just sits awkwardly in the mix. That so many such bands doing that exist now actually helps bands like Juice more than most might expect; instead of attempting to add awkward frills to their music, Juice simply lets solid songwriting be the hook they use to catch listeners on Hit The Ground Running, and lets fine performance be the lasting impression they leave behind after the record's run-time ends. Some readers might be skeptical, but the proof really is in the listening; Hit The Ground Running just goes, and those who hear it will happily go along with it.

…And those who hear it will be ready to fall in line behind the band right away as “Wake Me Up” kicks Hit The Ground Running open full-force. There, the band hits on a perfectly accessible mix of rock n' roll and rhythm & blues that those who hear it will be able to feel in every fibre of their being; Tom Hanley's voice and guitar straddle the same rhythmic line that bands like The Rolling Stones and Black Crowes have taken over the years, while the rhythm section of Craig Clement, Claudio Santaluce and Andrew Wright lock into a sound far more refined than one might expect from a band so young. Here, the combined group comes off like a crack team of studio veterans and the track itself proves to be incredibly engaging; in this pitch-corrected, studio manipulated age, hearing a band just knock songs out with a fine performance is a rarity – but it's great here.

While listeners are still reeling from their first introduction to Juice, the band keeps picking up steam through “The City” and “Never Know” (both of which sound like the best songs Jamiroquai has written in years) before resting easy in the rolling rocksteady rhythm of “Two Brothers.” There (as well as in the subdued track which follows it, “Indigo”), listeners will be able to stop and realize just how tight and keenly sharpened the players in this band are, and get the chance to really appreciate the craft and tone they've put in – before they pick up the beat and start wowing listeners again with the Philly Soul rave-up of “Hit The Ground Running,” the future barroom classic “Anywhere” and the infectious swagger of “Bad Man” before finally resting again in “Big Heart” and letting the record close. It's a high-energy run that listeners will have no trouble getting in step with.

After it has ended, those who have gone front-to-back with the record will be amazed at what they've experienced on Hit The Ground Running. While it's true that Juice is far from having been hard-tested yet in their young career, they've already established a solid place to start on Hit The Ground Running and leave lots of room to develop as they go from here as well. Readers in the Golden Horseshoe would be well advised to find out where this band is playing in the near future and shell out the cover charge to catch them that night before prices go up – as they seem destined to do.



Hit The Ground Running
is out now. Buy the songs digitally direct from the band here .

Comments are closed.