On April 10, Atlanta's Jupiter Watts release their third full-length album on Two Sheds Music. Produced by Athens-based David Barbe (ex-Sugar, ex-Buzz Hungry, ex-Mercyland; producer of Drive-By Truckers, Kelly Hogan, Son Volt, Harvey Milk, Amy Ray, Rock*A*Teens, etc.), the album offers something increasingly rare in the indie rock arena -- a consistently interesting and engaging guitar-rock record. This self-titled release demonstrates growth after its predecessor Let It Lie -- while the band once seemed to flaunt influences like Guided by Voices, Jesus & Mary Chain, etc., this effort sees them finding a more unique sound.
Dual vocalist/guitarists James Trigg and Ramon Wals, drummer Kevin Wallace, and bassist/keyboardist Jared Welsh capably explore sonic textures, change tempos at will, and lyrically engage topics as diverse as human relationships and atomic testing ("Bikini Atoll"). Contributions by sax ("Crown") and violin ("Hello") players also pepper the occasional track. "Nothing At All" is the sort of anthem that sounds great through one's car stereo -- a hypothesis I tested this evening with stunning success. "We Got Contact" and "On the Water" will delight those who reminisce about bands like Guadalcanal Diary or Let's Active, with the latter song's dual lead vocals an interesting touch. I'd also be remiss if I neglected to mention Wallace's drum playing on the album's final two tracks -- his rumbling on "Hit the Ground" and intricacy on "Our Lesson Learned" actually brought to mind Danny Carey's contributions on early Tool material.
From Jupiter Watts, due April 10:
Jupiter Watts - On the Water
The Jupiter Watts CD release show is next Saturday, April 7, at The EARL in Atlanta. Opening will be Barbe's band The Great Horned Owls and local act Moresight, who have been generating renewed buzz after strong recent performances. Tix are available online.