The Junipers are a psychedelic pop band who were formed in Leicester in 2000. In 2007 The Junipers signed to San Remo Records, a record label based in Wolverhampton ran by Felt guitarist Marco Thomas.
The Junipers recorded & released their debut album Cut Your Key in 2008. The album was self-produced & mainly recorded at The Junipers own studio in Leicester & partly at Magic Garden studios in Birmingham with Gavin monhagon, known for his work with Kings Of Leon, The Editors & Ryan Adams.
Cut Your Key received rave reviews from the likes of Uncut Magazine, The Word magazine, Record Collector & Shindig. Callooh Callay! Was named single of the week on BBC Radio 2 & all three singles gained airplay on Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music from dj's, Bob Harris, Steve Lamacq, Mark Radcliffe and Janice Long, among others.
In 2010 the band began recording their follow up to Cut Your Key at their own studio. "Paint the Ground" was released in Feburary 2012 as a self release.
Shindig! Magazine: Our new album has been reviewed by Shindig! Magazine: As most readers of Shindig! Know, there are several current bands who have attempted to bring that classic 60s soft pop sound into the new millenium.. And failed. There's always something not quite right, whether it's the timbre of the vocals, the production values, the melodic structures, or a combination thereof. Well, The Junipers, have managed to perfect their wonderfully shimmering, Curt Boettcher-esque folk-pop sound without even consciously trying to emulate it. Says Juniper Joe Wiltshire, "it's the era that we all listen to most, so it just falls naturally together. Even when we're recording & adding effects, it's what we know so it's what we do. We've never stopped and said, 'that doesn't sound 60s or 70s enough'. We just play it & it sounds like it does."
The band formed in Leicester around 2000, and recorded demos at home. "We startedpassing the recordings around town & got some good feedback so we started rehearsing as a band to take the songs out on the road", says Wiltshire. Several of these demos ultimately were re-recorded vor their first full length album, Cut Your Key, which was released in 2008 and garnered several fine reviews. Shindig! Was so enamoured of these recordings that we included "Gordie Can't Swim" on our hand-picked compilation, It's a Happening Volume One. Their wonderful new album, Paint the Ground, retains a similar ethos as Cut Your Key, while taking it tothe next level. "During the recording of the new stuff we got well into Space Opera and a lot of the moodier 70s sounds like America & Danny Kirwan", explains Wiltshire, and tunes like Dandelion Man & In My Reverie certainly reflect this. the Junipers have decided to eschew the usual label route & release Paint the Ground themselves - the albumis available on iTunes, Amazon, Cd Baby etc & will be available in physical formats very soon.
The greatest band in the whole wide world have got a new album. That’s right, supreme psychedelicists, The Junipers, are following up their ‘Cut Your Key’ LP with the wonderful, enchanting, downright POSITIVE longplayer, ‘Paint The Ground’.
Get that? A totally non-cynical, upbeat LP! How deeply unfashionable to be cheerful in the face of such unrelenting worldwide gloom.
The question is, have The Junipers pulled it off? Have they managed to top their near-perfect debut album?
With a shuffle in the line-up, there’s concern for we, the gasping fanboys, the sound could differ from the Pepperland of their opening gambit. However, within in seconds of LP opener, ‘Look Into My River’, the nagging dissipates into the ether. Fact is, The Junipers haven’t changed. Much.
The perennial sunshine is still there, and once again, they’ve somehow timed their release with a bout of decent weather, meaning that, unequivocally, The Junipers need to be paid by the government to exist and constantly record, ensuring that Britain is constantly in a state of clement weather. Someone. Quick. Make this happen.
Like their first release, ‘Paint The Ground’ is a tapestry of folk, psych, bubblegum, good vibrations and pocket-symphonies. ‘Phoebus Filled The Town’, ‘Song To Selkie’ and ‘Willow And The Water Mill’ are The Junipers doing what they’ve always done best, which is to create joyous, easy indie-pop – pants rolled up, wriggling toes in a stream.
And yes, granted, that sounds more twee than a basket filled of tweed owls, but there’s a more muscular side to The Junipers that stop them from being the latest drippy ukulele enthusiasts destined to provide a soundtrack to a pro-biotic yoghurt. The drugged, coming-up ambiance that emanates through the album guarantees you won’t vomit with sugar-overload.
Elsewhere, surefire single contender, ‘Dandelion Man’ sees the band displaying their cajones more than before, turning the amps up to warm fuzz, not to mention an almost foot-on-the-monitor moment that comes with the guitar solo in ‘In My Reverie’.
Fact is, there aren’t many better, more inventive bands around that The Junipers. They’re bold without over egging it and have an ear for a melody that is obviously indebted to McCartney when he left the Beatles and took up recording in a shed, as well as that glorious slow funk of the Small Faces ‘Autumn Stone’ and Neil Young Harvest-era, without wallowing in self-imposed pity or pointless analysing.
In pop music, the hardest trick in the world is to convincingly convey a shot of positivity, so often succumbing to forced fun. Likewise, capturing the mood of the ’60s is nigh-on impossible, with most groups growing Fab Four mops or flinging out tired Byrdsian pap. The Junipers understand what made the ’60s so creatively fun without ever forgetting what constitutes a great pop song.
They’ve captured the mood, not to mention the hearts of anyone with a decent pair or ears. The Junipers are back and, in a just universe, we’d hand the keys to the world to them because they can do no wrong. Until then, ‘Paint The Ground’ has come to improve your summer three millionfold.
Get on board.
The Junipers are: Ben Marshall (drums), Robyn Gibson (lead vocal, guitar), Pete Gough (guitar), Ash Seldon (bass, harmonies) & Joe Wiltshire (keys, guitar & harmonies).
All songs written & produced by Joe Wiltshire
"Paint the Ground" was mastered at Subsequent Studios.