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Jupiter Sunrise -  Under A Killer Blue Sky
by Chris Stum

Pop rock comes to us in many forms. One could consider acts such as Maroon 5 and Ryan Cabrera as the pop in pop rock. Bands such as Fountains Of Wayne, Simple Plan, and even The Cars define the rock in pop rock. Jupiter Sunrise fits into a rock pop category with enough twists and turns to make you feel lost in an empty parking lot while at the same time enjoying every moment of it. 

The Jupiter Sunrise story started in Albany, New York about two years ago with singer/songwriter Mark Houlihan deciding he needed a change in scenery. Houlihan picked up and moved to sunny California where he teamed up with Ben Karis (Guitar/Vocals), Chris Snykus (Drums), and Aaron Case (Bass/Vocals). The team quickly started writing and putting the finishing touches on songs that Houlihan had previously written. The result is the bands debut effort titled "Under A Killer Blue Sky" (Undecided/Victory). The album rounds up pop sensibilities, gritty guitars, songs about girls, rolls them all up into one, throws them in a blender and pours it out. I remember the first time I heard the song "Kaye." I came across the video for the song while surfing the web. I thought "What a great song, cool video too." I can now officially add "cool album" to that list. 

"Under A Killer Blue Sky" starts out running on all eight cylinders with a clever tune called "Arthur Nix." With loud guitars, great rhythm changes and cunning lyrics, "Arthur Nix" should be the template for all pop rock songs to come. Follow that up with the song "Kaye" and you have a killer start to any album. 

"Cherry Wine" initially slows the pace down but picks it up in the chorus with Weezer influenced harmonies, and strong guitar lines. Another song about a girl, "Casey" could be the next arena rock sing along offering memorable melodies and lyrics with the line; "Casey, hold my hand again." 

The album continues on with "Josieís House" and "Master Suzuki" both songs telling stories while infusing just enough bubble gum pop and rhythmic turnarounds to keep any listener interested. Add some keyboards in "Master Suzuki" along with the dreamy backups in "Suddenly," and you have a band which has just shown that they know much more about song writing then banging out a bunch of guitar chords and tongue in cheek lyrics. No cheese here folks, just a keen selection and sense of great songs. 

A trap many bands fall into with this style of music is a surplus of songs which end up sounding redundant and polluting an otherwise good album. You could say that "Under A Killer Blue Sky" is all killer and no filler. The album closes out with a collection of songs that offer up great music, lyrics that continue to be fun to listen to and easy to relate.

Although the album may be front loaded with some of the bands best work, itís clear that the last half of the album goes off in a little bit of a different direction to avoid an excess of rehashed ideas. In "September Girl" the band once again displays Weezer type vocal harmonies but mix things up with a droning, delay drenched guitar solo all while maintaining a Mazzy Star meets Midtown vibe to the song. The longest song on the album is entitled "Steal Me," a slow, swing type ballad that introduces soft drumming, acoustic guitar and U2 like guitar lines. 

In a day when pop rock today is once again starting to sound overproduced, over thought, and becoming way overpaid, the Jupiter Sunrise does not subscribe to any of these theories. Itís nice to see a band be able to write songs about who they are while not committing to sound like the "Flavor Of The Week" and having a great time doing it. If youíre looking for an album which is reinvents the word fun, look no further, "Under A Killer Blue Sky" is just for you.
 



Jupiter Sunrise -  Under A Killer Blue Sky
Label: Undecided Records
Rating: 
 
Tracks:
Arthur Nix
Kaye
Cherry Wine
Casey
Josie's House
Master Suzuki
Suddenly
Badge of Honor
Super X-Ray Vision
September Girl
Steal Me
Heaven And Endless
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