Monday, March 3, 2014

CD Review: Jupe Jupe - Crooked Kisses

Photo from Jupe Jupe Facebook page.

Note: This review originally appeared in the Illinois Entertainer.

Countless bands these days look back to the 1980s for inspiration, but Jupe Jupe distinguishes itself by focusing on the darker and more brooding side of New Wave. Think of Ultravox or Talk Talk, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what this Seattle-based quartet is up to on its third full-length release, Crooked Kisses. Most of these tracks stretch beyond the five-minute mark, which gives listeners plenty of time to delve into the atmospheric arrangements and ominous lyrics about everything from small-minded townspeople to cosmic disaster.

On “Autumn October” and “Love To Watch You Fall,” lead singer My Young’s vocals resonate above a lush mix of his keyboards playing and the energetic guitars of Bryan Manzo and Patrick Partington. Drummer Jarrod Arbini anchors the bottom-heavy rhythms of “Darkness,” and Jupe Jupe opts for a straight up rock approach (albeit with synthesizers) on the social satire of “Vicariously.” “Whispers Kill” comes a bit too close to being overly precious, but Jupe Jupe expertly combines bitterness with an irresistible melody on Crooked Kisses’ first single, “Pieces Of You.”

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