Everything Under The Sun
Jukebox The Ghost
Release Date: Sep 08, 10
Watching Olympic gymnastics can be very frustrating. It’s amazing to see the young gymnasts moving through their various routines with such grace and power. Each routine inevitably leads up to some unbelievable final jump or dismount that, despite years of practice, they never land. These ladies give up their entire lives to do almost nothing but practice and then they get to the Olympics and it seems like no one ever sticks the landing.
It feels like Jukebox the Ghost has fallen into the same trap. The music on their new release Everything Under the Sun is outstanding. The arrangements and musicianship are excellent; nearly every song jumps out of the speakers.
Then there is the singing. For some reason, despite the great music, the band seems to feel the need to try and feature the vocals on each song almost as if it was an extra instrument. Listeners are subjected to an unfortunate amount of vocal gymnastics and, much like in the Olympics; they fail to stick the landing.
Nearly every song is loaded down with falsettos, operatic overtones and just plain over-singing. I hate to say it but on the opening song, “Schizophrenia,” there are parts where it actually sounds like the South Park characters Terrance and Phillip are doing the singing. Finally on track 10, “The Popular Thing,” we hear what could be. The vocals start out strong and passionate without being overwhelming. Unfortunately, it’s not long before a bout of operatic silliness shows up.
Everything Under the Sun is the follow-up to Jukebox the Ghost’s critically acclaimed debut Let Live and Let Ghosts. Producer Peter Katis, whose credits include Interpol and The National, signed on for the project and outdid himself. The sound is crisp, the arrangements are fun and the piano and other keyboards are outstanding. If he just could have convinced co-vocalists Tommy Siegal and Ben Thornewill to stop channeling their inner Freddie Mercury “Everything Under the Sun,” might have been a masterpiece.
Hopefully as Jukebox the Ghost matures they will become more comfortable with their own voice and no longer feel the need to try and make the vocals into a focal point of each song. Until then, I’ll look for an instrumental mix.