When Bluejuice announced earlier this year that they would be releasing their third album they did it in true Bluejuice style, with a tongue in cheek message to fans that was sure to provide a good giggle:
Bluejuice Consortium, known world-wide as the most ethical, generous and unchangingly-handsome of all the corporations, recently conducted a focus group in which chained volunteers were asked what they most craved from an album. “Angst!” grumbled some of the more pale interviewees. “Melody!” declared others, most of whom wore berets. “I just want to dance! Give me a sandwich!” yelled everybody else.
So with a sandwich in hand and itching to dance, I was ready to listen to the latest Bluejuice offering, Company.
I will always have a fond spot for Bluejuice, their music reminding me of hot summer days spent with friends, long road trips to festivals, starting stage invasions and fantastic music clips.
In 2007, Bluejuice provided the world with genre defying debut album Problems. It was a little bit indie, a little bit pop, a little bit funk, a little bit ska and a little bit hip-hop. Since then, the band has grown up…well musically, anyway.
Third album Company sees the band tightening up their sound calling on friends such as Alex Burnett from Sparkadia and Julian Hamilton of Presets fame, as well as a long list of musicians and vocalists. They have also recruited renowned producers Eric J. Dubowsky (Weezer, Art Vs. Science) and Blue May (Wolfgang, Basement Jaxx), while the album was mixed by Grammy award winning engineer Adrian Busbhy (Foo Fighters, New Order, My Bloody Valentine).
Company sees Bluejuice heading a new direction, leaving behind many of their traditional routes, with a clearer focus on pure pop tunes.
The first half of the album doesn’t stray too far from their second album Head of the Hawk, with tracks such as “Can’t Keep Up” and “Act Yr Age,” reminiscent of hits such as “Broken Leg” but not as catchy.
The ‘community’ Bluejuice has created around them via the smorgasbord of musicians that have contributed to Company has paid off with the album sounding fuller and more refined than previous albums. This is most evident with the Steve Winwood inspired “On My Own.” It’s slower and more reflective than most Bluejuice songs and is a delicately crafted synth-ballad that sees Bluejuice teaming up with Justin Hamilton. It is also in true Bluejuice fashion, a little bit daggy. While it takes a while to grow on you, it is one of the standout tracks of the album.
I can imagine Company dividing Bluejuice fans as the band move away from their more eclectic approach to music. The album is a more refined and thought-out version of previous albums that is likely to take a while to get use to with some tracks beginning to meld into one.
While the band has grown up musically, tracks about palm readers in New York and Jake’s fascination with sex magic, suggests that the energetic, tongue in cheek Bluejuice that we have grown to love is still there.
– Steph Lee