Everything Under the Sun

A month or so ago I predicted that based on what I’d heard Jukebox the Ghost’s Everything Under the Sun was about to become my new favourite album of all time, dethroning Belle and Sebastian’s The Life Pursuit, not an easy challenge by any standard. So now that I have the album, and have listened to it many times over, the question is was I right? The answer, plain and simple, yes. Belle and Sebastian of course have the opportunity to take back the crown when their new album Belle and Sebastian Write About Love hits shelfs October 12th in the U.S., but for now Jukebox the Ghost has captured my heart. Their first album was fantastic, it was fresh, new, different, and inventive. I was almost a little worried that they wouldn’t be able to reach the same high standard with a sophomore album. They did, and in fact I think they went a step further, a giant leap further even. The album is very recognizably Jukebox the Ghost, not much if anything has changed, but in no way is that a bad thing. The band is far stronger in a number of areas, Ben and Tommy are clearly more experienced vocalists, and they’ve done an excellent job of meshing piano with guitar, two instruments with a tendency to vie for attention when used together creating a sense of disharmony. Jesse remains ever fantastic, listening to him play always depresses me a little because I think to myself, “Damn, I’m never going to be able to do that.” His drum parts are as much a part of the music as Ben’s piano and Tommy’s guitar. In some bands the drummer just keeps time, plain and simple, that is not Jukebox the Ghost. Jesse takes it to a whole different level, he play’s inventively, uses the whole set and then some, and at the same time plays with such speed and precision, it’s really just amazing. Okay that’s a lot about drums, but that’s the only instrument I really know much of anything about, and drummers don’t generally get the attention they deserve, and in this case attention is definitely deserved.

There is not one song on this album I don’t like, and I love most of them. Schizophrenia, The Popular Thing, and Nobody are all strong candidates for replacing Dress Up In You as my favourite song of all time, I’m not calling it just yet though because I have yet to see if they all stand the test of time and repeated listening. The great thing about this album though is that the songs not mentioned there are still great, they’re not just filler tracks as you so often find on LPs. Summer Sun although short is a gem of a track, The Sun and The Stars are both fun and energetic. Half Crazy and Carrying are infectiously catchy, but in a gimmicky sort of way that comes close to making me not like them, but they’re still fun to listen to. Empire and Mistletoe are also great, and if it wasn’t for that fact that I’d already heard them many times over prior to the release I would probably have been wowed by them as well. There is practically nothing wrong and everything right with this album, and it is absolutely necessary that everyone go listen to it.

Final score: 100/100

An update: For those of you who don’t know who Jukebox the Ghost are and are too lazy to go look them up I’ve embedded this video here of them playing Schizophrenia on Letterman.

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