Artist Spotlight

Review: Jubilee Riots, “Penny Black”

No Comments 2 November 2014

Review: Jubilee Riots, “Penny Black”

“Jubilee Riots have learned to gracefully embrace change and channel a reinvigorated energy into their music, where it belongs. The celebration of this is evident with the joy this band plays with on this record.”

Artist: Jubilee Riots

Album: Penny Black

Genre: Folk Rock

RIYL: Enter the Haggis, Jimmy Eat World, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Decemberists

Jubilee Riots Penny Black

What do you do after 20 years in the business when you want to make a genre change and create a fresh start? If you’re the artists formerly known as Enter the Haggis, you change your band name to Jubilee Riots and you make the transition for your devoted fans as easy as possible. Then you do something really brilliant. You write an album full of story songs that reflect the personal lives of those fans based on letters they’ve sent in over the years that shows off that songwriting versatility you’ve been drifting to and commit to it fully. And with that, we exit the haggis and enter the age of Jubilee Riots.

Two of the strongest tracks of the album kick off Jubilee Riots’ new direction in sound. The gloriously good “Trying Times” pulls you right into the fray with a hypnotic groove and impassioned vocals. The energy is palpable and when the freight train harmonica kicks in close to the 2:00 mark everything ratchets up about five more notches in blistering abandon before the lyrics and melody bridge back to where we started. “Trying Times” is just an extremely well-crafted song from start to finish. “Two Bare Hands” keeps the energy level up but shines as a more pop-driven tune that showcases the mainstream savvy Jubilee Riots possesses as songwriters.

“Unsteady” features a flawlessly delivered harmony-driven vocal performance that manages to make relationship challenges sound good. “Astray” taps into the Celtic influences gained over the band’s many trips touring in Ireland, weaving an interesting use of a different type of roots rock. “Lived A Life” carries that Irish folk song style forward with a slightly more scaled back and simpler tune that celebrates the memories of a life well-lived. There’s a nostalgia and sweetness here, combined with a memorable sing-song melody, that makes this another standout track. The wildly energetic “Song Plays On” ends the album in style with a powerful performance from all members of the band that will surely translate spectacularly well to a live setting.

Penny Black is a story of renewal; and fans (and people in general) can take heart that even a wildly successful band can deliver on the promise they’ve made to themselves by following where their inspiration leads. Jubilee Riots have learned to gracefully embrace change and channel a reinvigorated energy into their music, where it belongs. The celebration of this is evident with the joy this band plays with on this record. Penny Black is a great start to a new chapter of creativity.


Jubilee Riots website: http://jubileeriots.com/

 

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