Brooklyn band Jukebox The Ghost are hardly new, yet always manage to hit fans with something unexpected, whether it’s Ben Thornewill’s squeaks on “Empire,” or the cheerful, disaffected treatment of oblivion on their last album, Safe Travels; the band floats through butterfly melodies and their subject matter often stings like a bee.
Performing with the same lineup for over a decade has whittled the band’s sound without losing any of their characteristic weirdness. Safe Travels started out with the punchy pop for which the group is known, but the second half treaded back into that weirdness with “Dead,” “Ghosts in Empty Houses,” and the orchestrated megasong created when “Devils on Our Side” melts into “All For Love.”
It’s the band’s best-composed album to date, and not one easily put on shuffle. Though their new effort has no release date as yet, Jukebox’s electrifying (and at times, hilarious) Audiotree session includes three new songs, including “The Great Unknown,” already available on Spotify.
Like Safe Travels, “The Great Unknown” appears light on the first listen. The keyboard still takes the lead, though what was formerly plunking and wistful turns into something Broadway-worthy. Thornewill’s voice is powerful as ever, inviting the listener to a world where heartbreak and death are diffused by showtunes. Raise the curtain, boys — we’re ready for you.
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Review by Julia Cook | @SXSteelCity