On October 21, Jukebox the Ghost released their fourth full-length studio album on Yep Roc Records. Jukebox The Ghost was well worth the two year wait too. Once again this trio has turned out superior pop music with their unique signature sound.
The journey that started at George Washington University, traveled to Philly is currently based in Brooklyn. The move is another step in the growing process for the band. Jukebox The Ghost is the result of the growth process Ben, Tommy and Jesse have been through thus far. The music has grown up. But don’t worry, the music is still fun and signature JTG. Ben, Tommy and Jesse continue to sculpt brilliant and complex melodies with lyrics that quickly get people singing along with a live shows. There is something very comfortable, relateable about the band and their music. Intro lines are invitations designed to fit the occasion that is the rest of the track. There’s no switching emotional gears as the song progresses, something that can cause a listener to disconnect. It’s not to say that there are not surprises but they are always like party “crackers” not something scary.
It’s impossible to pick a favorite track on this record. Working with producers Dan Romer (Ingrid Michaelson, A Great Big World, Jenny Owen Youngs) and Andrew Dawson (fun., Kanye West), the entire album stellar. Nothing is over produced. There are no unnecessary effects added. Starting with the “The Great Unknown” the album boasts its pedigree with a song co-written by Ben with Greg Holden, a co-writer on the Phillip Phillips hit single “Home.” “Long Way Home” features Tommy on lead vocals with this super-catchy melody. Jesse provides a genuine heartbeat with the drum-line on this one.
The band has been posting the backstories for the songs on their Facebook and YouTube channel. The story of “Made For Ending”, another “Tommy-track” is about how Dan Romer worked his magic on it. Making the chorus “bigger” took it up that perfect notch. Romer also did a major make-over on “Sound Of A Broken” heart from the original, jazzy version Ben brought to the studio. Initially the band wasn’t really keen on the reggae-ton beat Romer put on the intro but as they progressed, the tailoring made for a beautiful fit.
One of the coolest and most daring moves Dan made with the record was putting Jesse on opening vocals for “Hollywood.” For two months the band just nodded and smiled, not totally taking Romer seriously. But then Jesse got moved behind the mic and after some breath holding, they all agreed that the idea was brilliant. The band discusses it further on YouTube. In live performances this choice only gets better. Jesse connects to his inner ham and gives the song a wonderful character. “Undeniable You” with its gospel elements takes the song to church, literally. One can picture an audience going silent to drink in every moment. “Show Me Where It Hurts” is the big hug at the end of the record. Such a great warm and fuzzy that makes a listener just want to curl up under the covers with it. The entire record has been on replay here since it was released and probably will continue to spin daily for a while on this writer’s computers, phone, tablet and iPod.
Jukebox The Ghost is even better live than recorded and that’s saying a lot. Their U.S. headlining tour commences January 13, 2015 in Grand Rapids, MI and wraps on March 10th in their former home venue, the 9:30 in Washington, DC. Make sure to get out to one or more of their shows. Wear your dancing shows and warm up your voice for a night of great music.