Indie pop quintet The Juliets hail from Detroit. The band’s arrangements set them apart from the majority of their peers. Perfect Season is underscored by a piano, with violin and cello featuring as significant elements, making the band’s sound more akin to Ra Ra Riot or a pocket Arcade Fire than the Motown heritage of their home city.
It seems like the band are destined to receive increasing attention: the guitar-led opening track Loon (below) has already been picked up the motor giant Chrysler because of its catchy chorus and tight percussion. A shimmering violin gives the standout slow number A Perfect Season an emotional intensity, whilst the tango-infused piano and cello of Hey Stars sees the band mixing up the Indie pop formula.
Only You adds programmed drumbeats and a synthesizer to the mix. But with a classical strings breakdown part way through, the electronic additions feel like a deliberate, and unnecessary, attempt to make the song sound more contemporary.
There’s much to commend on Perfect Season, but the album lacks a cohesive direction. It’s more like a raggle-taggle bunch of songs than a focused collection of work. Halfway through the album the instrumental waltz The Lost Memory is a fine piece of chamber music but, without Jeremy Freer’s voice (the only through-line on the other tracks), it’s a token demonstration of the band’s musical abilities beyond the world of Indie pop.
Perhaps a side project would be the better place to more fully explore this contemporary classical avenue?
The band are still cutting their teeth on their second album, but when they get the mix of pop and strings right (on Heart in Heart and Ad-Lib) the result is effective. So if you fancy a pleasant musical journey that takes in a variety of influences, then Perfect Season by The Juliets might be what you’re looking for this autumn.