juicer – ‘Retire The Fences’

Retire The Fences is the memorable debut album from juicer, strutting a dynamic rock sound that stretches from dreamily introspective to raucously invigorating. The album pursues a relatable personal journey, where one ventures from their home, moving on from the past and anticipating the future. Lead singer James Watson experienced these trials during the writing of the album, resulting in a meld of hooky rock appeal and relatable depictions of the human experience, as individuals move onto a new phase of growth and maturity. The album title references The Beach Boys’ song “Feel Flows,” and reflects these themes as a whole.

“Trickin” opens the album with a warming, mellow array of ethereal vocals and calming guitar pulsations. A bursting guitar emphasis hits past the one-minute mark, engaging with a twangy ardency amidst the comforting acoustic strums. Sporadic flourishes such as these maintain a palpable momentum, consuming within the harmoniously laid-back rock sound. “Family Man” follows with a jangly immediacy, traversing into a spine-tingling vocal soaring with enjoyable shades of Wild Nothing and Real Estate. The album’s one-two punch provides ample entrancement, emphasizing both the act’s lushly unfolding structural precision and knack for hooky soaring.

A more distortion-friendly, delectably sludgy rock resonance shows in “Let Go,” showcasing the band as equally adept in harder-going alternative and shoegaze-friendly realms. Retire The Fences is consistently impressive in its tonal variety, spanning from raucously memorable rockers like this, to yearning jangly gems like “Why Don’t” and the illuminating “Strawberry Life,” which feels fit for nighttime driving with its bustling bass line, atmospheric guitar lines, and serene vocal pushes — reminiscent of Beach Fossils and Blonde Redhead. The textured guitar tones and steady vocal beauty combine for another captivating piece of songwriting.

A fully satiating finale, “Dream” invigorates with its subtly escalating vocals and shimmering guitar intensity. The “strangest dream” refrain mesmerizes with a gorgeously dazed demeanor as the guitar whirring heightens; the vocals also enamor in their admitted sense of searching for someone or something to believe in, aspiring to a renewed sense of confidence in pushing to the next step in life. Retire The Fences is a thematically cathartic success from juicer, artfully conveying aspects of moving forward within a diverse rock sound that ranges from dreamy to invigorating.

Look for the band on tour throughout 2024 in NYC and beyond.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

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