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The Juniper Band - Secrets of Summer

  by Mark Rowland

published: 26 / 3 / 2003

The Juniper Band - Secrets of Summer
Label: Suiteside
Format: CD


"Grand" and "emotional" space rock on first full-length album from new Italian group, the Juniper Band

So far, this year has been the year of Suiteside in terms of underground indie-rock. This Bologna-based label has been going from strength to strength, with several albums from its bands being released around the same time, all of which seem to be bloody brilliant. Take the Juniper Band, for example. They have recently released 'Secrets of Summer', their first full-length, following up the EP 'Of Debris and Daylong Dreams', and it's pretty damn good. The Juniper Band's grand, emotional music shares a lot with the kind of space-core that America's Cave In have been making of late, but there's no way you'd get the two mixed up. While both bands have married their punk sensibilities with a prog-y, space-rock sound, the Juniper Band have a sparser approach to making their music, which is more piano based, and relies on studio effects and pedals a lot less than Cave-in does. The Juniper Band's songs are seemingly all about emotion, and mainly negative ones at that. This is not a bad thing. Take, for example, co-vocalist/guitarist Francesco Begnoni's touching seven minute tribute to his dead Great Uncle, 'Ride, Dead', or other vocalist/bassist Gianluca Lucchini's dreamy melancholy on 'Twin Dreams of Seen and Seem'. Very moving stuff. What is impressive about the Juniper Band's sound is its ability to have its head in the clouds and its feet planted firmly on the ground. Perhaps this is due to having two main songwriters in the band, but the Juniper Band conjure up images of both spacey dream scapes and lonely bars in sleepy towns, two atmospheres that couldn't be more different, which is probably the greatest thing about this record. The Juniper Band can be prog without becoming ridiculous. Even at their most spacey, there's a folky realism to their songs. This is accentuated by the boozy slur of Begnoni and Lucchini's vocals, and by choosing more organic instrument sounds, rather than drowning their sound in effects. Worth looking into for the practically impossible fact that they create down to earth space-rock, the Juniper Band have created a great emotional album that, along with the rest of Suiteside's roster, shows off what a vibrant and interesting indie music scene Italy has . Buy yourself a copy of 'Secrets of Summer' and get lost in it.

Track Listing:-
1 A Tale of Holy Devotion
2 Part of the Play
3 Boon
4 Ride,Dead
5 Mudroaster
6 Jaded Strings
7 Ghost Sign
8 Lights from a Bar
9 Twin Dreams of Seen and Seem
10 Sunwards
11 Trier and Trials

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