Sunday, April 22, 2012

Jejune – Junk (1997)

Jejune is the name of a band which formed in the mid-90s at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. The band has been commonly identified with the emo genre, particularly the late-90s "indie emo" scene. The three founding members, Arabella Harrison (Bass/Vocals), Joe Guevara (Guitar/Vocals) and Chris Vanacore (Drums), met while studying at the college. The band relocated to San Diego, California, in 1997.
Many of Jejune's songs fit the construct and sensibilities of the emotional hardcore genre (aka emo). Intimate verses of melodic, melancholic reflection ascend to choruses of extreme musical and emotional intensity (a comparative blitz of noise.) Among similar bands of the time, Jejune’s use of blended male/female vocals and pop sensibility helped to make them stand out.
The band’s earliest songs consisted of a more punk rock style, such as on their first single, "Drive by Negly". The band continued recording demos with the expectation of eventually recording their debut album, but ending up issuing a compilation of those demos as their first album, Junk, in 1997. A split single with Jimmy Eat World, including the song "Early Stars", was released in early 1998.
Later in 1998, the band released their second album, This Afternoon’s Malady, which marked a notable departure from the band's more indie rock leanings on their debut.
Over the span of their existence, the band undertook several tours of the US, including stints with The Get Up Kids, Blacktop Cadence, Piebald, and a late 1998 tour with Jimmy Eat World. In early 1999, the band added Mark Murino on second guitar in order to expand their live sound. Not long after, the band undertook a European tour with Kill Holiday.
Near the end of 1999, many of the bands in the "indie emo" scene of the time attempted to move away from the "emo" label. As a band, Jejune began experimenting with more pure-pop leanings, and prepared to record their third album. However, tensions in the band regarding the new direction led to the band's breakup in early 2000. Later that year, Big Wheel Recreation released a compilation called R.I.P., which consisted of the completed demos for the third album, tracks from released singles, and a handful of unreleased songs.
Following the breakup of the band, Guevara, Murino, and Vanacore founded Lovelight Shine. That group released on EP through Big Wheel Recreation, and a second, self-released EP before breaking up. Following that, Murino and Vanacore went on to form the group Dirty Sweet, while Guevara has been playing piano for blues artist Lady Dottie. Harrison joined The And/Ors following the breakup, and more recently, has embarked on a solo career, with Vanacore occasionally joining her on drums. She also plays as a member of the group Bartender’s Bible.
But, talk about "Junk":
Sure the uppity but mellow riffs are in full swing with the accompaniment of tag-team male/ female vocals — the later of being something to Jejune's advantage — but a lot of Junk overlaps into the category of bland alternative-rock. To at least give credit where it's due, Arabella's melancholy but soothing voice kills some of the monotony, giving some hope that Jejune will progress musically with their next few releases.


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