Midnight Juggernauts – The Crystal Axis
wow. I don’t know where all the album reviews went. We use to do quite a few, but yeah, they kinda went belly up. Was being sent too much new single tracks, uni got crazy busy (it still is. damn you thesis!) and yeah, i hadn’t actually got any new albums to review anyways. But, things are about to change. Well…probably not in some big grand kinda way…but yeah, hopefully a few more album reviews will get done before the year’s out.
So, this is an album I’ve been hanging out for for ages. New Juggers! It’s their second LP following up from Dystopia in 2007. And yeah, i’m sure if you’re a fan, you’ve probably already heard some of the tracks and read a bit about it. It does have a bit of a different sound. It’s not that indie dance kinda stuff that people had them pigeonholed at after the first LP. It’s still an album you can dance to though. I been thinking about the best way to describe the sound for a while now…and I guess I would use the word ‘warm’. Dystopia was quite doomy and dark…and whilst the Axis is still dark in it’s sound, it has this warm quality to it (think track 3, Lifeblood Flow). It’s also a hell of a lot more percussive. There are little woodblock kinda grooves working their way right through the disc, which is all kinds of cool.
Overall, it is a solid release. One of the better Australian releases of the year so far. I gotta listen to it more though. I feel as though there’s more to discover with this record. After reading a few interviews with the dudes, it’s obvious that they are quite proud of it. And deservedly so.
In terms of the faves though…hmm…I think the aforementioned ‘warm’ number Lifeblood Flow is definitely up there. Track 5, Lara Versus the Savage Pack reminds me a bit of Dystopia with it’s groove at the beginning. That would be a definite fave also – especially when the chorus kicks in. And that repeated key line carries it right through. Cannibal Freeway is another venture into the ‘warm’ state…and the no vocals for the first minute and a half adds that extra little dimension (nothing against Andy’s vocals!). The word ‘ambitious’ has been used to describe the album by a few out there, and i think track 9, Winds of Fortune is the most ambitious of the disc. Above anything else, it’s uplifting. It’s got the backing vocals…and that almost feel-good, lyrically hopeful chorus. And then there’s the two lead singles, This New Technology and Vital Signs.
To top it all off, I made sure I pre-ordered my copy early, which meant i went into the running to get a signed version of the album. And I did. So, on Friday, I was pretty stoked to come home and their be the signatures of the Juggers boys greeting me on top of their new disc. The album also comes with a bonus disc, which you have to get. It’s got a great remix of This New Technology by Emperor Machine and a cover of Vital Signs by massive buzz band Tame Impala. It’s also got some exclusive b-sides too, including the awesome Get Connected.
So yeah, that’s it! Top album. Definitely recommend you get your copy. Try and get it the old fashioned way – from an actual record store. That way you get the bonus disc. Aussie kids – grab it from JB. Otherwise, check it out on iTunes.