Jupiter in Velvet’s recent release in an electro dance rock vein, Anthems2Love, is a short nonetheless packed collection of songs ranking among Velvet’s best thus far. It begins with “A Cooler Shade of Mad”. It’s a typical mid-tempo guitar rocker for Velvet driven by a memorable melodic guitar riff. It has a signature vocal performance from Jupiter in Velvet – the same strutting and slightly insolent vocal performance defining his best rock tracks hits its mark here and rides high during the chorus. It’s hard not to enjoy the live wire guitar sound Velvet achieves in this recording and earlier efforts – the six string a warm electronic crackle giving off sparks throughout the opener.
The folksy charms of “If Not Peace… (Then It’s War)” are evident from the first but Velvet lays some balladic rock muscle into later portions of the track. He changes up his vocal for this track without ever venturing far afield of the style established during the opener. I like its declamatory quality. There’s an obvious production emphasis on capturing the best possible sound for Velvet’s guitar playing and its primacy in the song’s mix lays the foundation for much of its success. Many listeners will gravitate to his music thanks to its individual take on a modern Hendrix-like vibe.
“Stand” has a darker tilt than the earlier efforts. I hear a mid-tempo Midwestern born rocker in the heart of this track and that isn’t a slight. The cinematic atmosphere Velvet invokes through the arrangement has deeper impact thanks to straight-forward style of songwriting – this is music designed to connect with the listener’s sensibilities rather than impress you with its chops and “Stand”, without question, inspires emotion. The blues influences in the song are unexpected and Velvet makes such moments his own without ever regurgitating clichés.
One of the more expansive portions of the release arrives with “The Greatest Gift”. Longtime music fans will hear his influences coming through loud and clear but, as with the blues conceits of the aforementioned cut, Velvet succeeds reshaping those traditions to serve his own creative ends while retaining their recognizable spirit. The final track on Anthems2Love concludes the release on an affirmative note with “We Are All ONE”. It’s one of the most hopeful entries in Jupiter in Velvet’s catalog thus far; Velvet, once again, wears his influences on his sleeve but manages spinning them in distinctive fashion rather than leaning on mimicry.
Jupiter in Velvet’s Anthems2Love maintains the brisk imaginative pace characterizing the American born/UK based performer’s recording output so far. He has long since established a recognizable style with listeners, but he has discovered endless variations within that style and regularly challenges himself as an artist. The last point is crucial. There is nothing about a Jupiter in Velvet release exhibiting traits of someone standing still. Anthems 2Love is no exception. It signals, if nothing else, Jupiter in Velvet continues advancing the goalposts and attempting to break new ground in some way with each new release. Anthems2Love doesn’t remake the songwriting wheel, but it travels its own road in the modern music world.