Review of Paint The Ground courtesy of Moff Gimmers (NME, Twitter, The World).:
The greatest band in the whole wide world have got a new album. That’s right, supreme psychedelicists, The Junipers, are following up their ‘Cut Your Key’ LP with the wonderful, enchanting, downright POSITIVE longplayer, ‘Paint The Ground’.
Get that? A totally non-cynical, upbeat LP! How deeply unfashionable to be cheerful in the face of such unrelenting worldwide gloom.
The question is, have The Junipers pulled it off? Have they managed to top their near-perfect debut album?
With a shuffle in the line-up, there’s concern for we, the gasping fanboys, the sound could differ from the Pepperland of their opening gambit. However, within in seconds of LP opener, ‘Look Into My River’, the nagging dissipates into the ether. Fact is, The Junipers haven’t changed. Much.The perennial sunshine is still there, and once again, they’ve somehow timed their release with a bout of decent weather, meaning that, unequivocally, The Junipers need to be paid by the government to exist and constantly record, ensuring that Britain is constantly in a state of clement weather.
Someone. Quick. Make this happen.
Like their first release, ‘Paint The Ground’ is a tapestry of folk, psych, bubblegum, good vibrations and pocket-symphonies. ‘Phoebus Filled The Town’, ‘Song To Selkie’ and ‘Willow And The Water Mill’ are The Junipers doing what they’ve always done best, which is to create joyous, easy indie-pop – pants rolled up, wriggling toes in a stream.
And yes, granted, that sounds more twee than a basket filled of tweed owls, but there’s a more muscular side to The Junipers that stop them from being the latest drippy ukulele enthusiasts destined to provide a soundtrack to a pro-biotic yoghurt. The drugged, coming-up ambiance that emanates through the album guarantees you won’t vomit with sugar-overload.
Elsewhere, surefire single contender, ‘Dandelion Man’ sees the band displaying their cajones more than before, turning the amps up to warm fuzz, not to mention an almost foot-on-the-monitor moment that comes with the guitar solo in ‘In My Reverie’.
Fact is, there aren’t many better, more inventive bands around that The Junipers. They’re bold without over egging it and have an ear for a melody that is obviously indebted to McCartney when he left the Beatles and took up recording in a shed, as well as that glorious slow funk of the Small Faces ‘Autumn Stone’ and Neil Young Harvest-era, without wallowing in self-imposed pity or pointless analysing.
In pop music, the hardest trick in the world is to convincingly convey a shot of positivity, so often succumbing to forced fun. Likewise, capturing the mood of the ’60s is nigh-on impossible, with most groups growing Fab Four mops or flinging out tired Byrdsian pap. The Junipers understand what made the ’60s so creatively fun without ever forgetting what constitutes a great pop song.
They’ve captured the mood, not to mention the hearts of anyone with a decent pair or ears. The Junipers are back and, in a just universe, we’d hand the keys to the world to them because they can do no wrong. Until then, ‘Paint The Ground’ has come to improve your summer three millionfold.
Get on board.
released March 3, 2012
Joe Wiltshire (harmonies, guitar, bass, keys, zither), Robyn Gibson (Vocals, guitar, autoharp, b-string-bender), Peter Gough (guitar, percussion), Ash Seldon (Bass, harmonies, guitar, percussion), Stuart Pratt (Drums, harmonies, percussion, glock).