Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Junipers - Paint The Ground (Vinyl Reissue 2014)

Back to the future we go, right up to date in fact with a vinyl reissue of an album that me and my fellow music obsessive buddies, The Junipers made over many Tuesday nights up in our little studio in Leicester UK. Those nice folks at Sugarbush Records have done a fantastic job making it, to my ears, sound a million times better than the original digital only release. You can buy a copy from here, but be quick, they're almost all gone!

I better not say too much about it, instead I'll leave it to the people with taste to share their thoughts...

The Junipers are a psychedelic pop group with a new line up following 2008′s Cut Your Key. Paint The Ground is one of the best sunshine folk pop LPs ever with sweet harmonies and shimmering guitars similar to Curt Boettcher and Millennium. “Willow and The Water Mill” is a song that paints a vivid picture of a summer day in the country.

The gentle “Phoebus Filled The Town” is a heartbreaking melody with a prog-folk sound that will remind many of Steve Hackett era Genesis.  Each song seamlessly blends into a perfect tapestry of mood, as in “Antler Season,” the ethereal chorus rides along an acoustic melody. The only issue is that these songs tend to be indistinguishable from each other. Using a full load of instruments from Mellotrons to Zithers, it perfectly evokes the sunshine pop era without blatantly ripping it off – a true musical treasure.
Power Popaholic

This is out now - if you dig POP music you need it - already my contender for best album of 2014 ... I can hear echoes of the Stone Roses [ those early B-sides like 'going down' ] The La's , The Byrds , Michael Head and his various bands , the Bees ... a lovely hazy psyched out bucolic feel that despite echoing the past could only be made in 2014 - subtly blending elements of then and now ... it's rarely I play a record over and over again these days but this is SPECIAL - well done to Markus Holler and The Junipers - I am gobsmacked ...
Simon Norfolk

As most readers of Shindig! Know, there are several current bands who have attempted to bring that classic 60s soft pop sound into the new millenium.. And failed. There's always something not quite right, whether it's the timbre of the vocals, the production values, the melodic structures, or a combination thereof. Well, The Junipers, have managed to perfect their wonderfully shimmering, Curt Boettcher-esque folk-pop sound without even consciously trying to emulate it. Says Juniper Joe Wiltshire, "it's the era that we all listen to most, so it just falls naturally together. Even when we're recording & adding effects, it's what we know so it's what we do. We've never stopped and said, 'that doesn't sound 60s or 70s enough'. We just play it & it sounds like it does."

The band formed in Leicester around 2000, and recorded demos at home. "We startedpassing the recordings around town & got some good feedback so we started rehearsing as a band to take the songs out on the road", says Wiltshire. Several of these demos ultimately were re-recorded vor their first full length album, Cut Your Key, which was released in 2008 and garnered several fine reviews. Shindig! Was so enamoured of these recordings that we included "Gordie Can't Swim" on our hand-picked compilation, It's a Happening Volume One. Their wonderful new album, Paint the Ground, retains a similar ethos as Cut Your Key, while taking it tothe next level. "During the recording of the new stuff we got well into Space Opera and a lot of the moodier 70s sounds like America & Danny Kirwan", explains Wiltshire, and tunes like Dandelion Man & In My Reverie certainly reflect this. the Junipers have decided to eschew the usual label route & release Paint the Ground themselves.
Shinding! Magazine

The greatest band in the whole wide world have got a new album. That’s right, supreme psychedelicists, The Junipers, are following up their ‘Cut Your Key’ LP with the wonderful, enchanting, downright POSITIVE longplayer, ‘Paint The Ground’.

Get that? A totally non-cynical, upbeat LP! How deeply unfashionable to be cheerful in the face of such unrelenting worldwide gloom.

The question is, have The Junipers pulled it off? Have they managed to top their near-perfect debut album?

With a shuffle in the line-up, there’s concern for we, the gasping fanboys, the sound could differ from the Pepperland of their opening gambit. However, within in seconds of LP opener, ‘Look Into My River’, the nagging dissipates into the ether. Fact is, The Junipers haven’t changed. Much.

The perennial sunshine is still there, and once again, they’ve somehow timed their release with a bout of decent weather, meaning that, unequivocally, The Junipers need to be paid by the government to exist and constantly record, ensuring that Britain is constantly in a state of clement weather.

Someone. Quick. Make this happen.

Like their first release, ‘Paint The Ground’ is a tapestry of folk, psych, bubblegum, good vibrations and pocket-symphonies. ‘Phoebus Filled The Town’, ‘Song To Selkie’ and ‘Willow And The Water Mill’ are The Junipers doing what they’ve always done best, which is to create joyous, easy indie-pop – pants rolled up, wriggling toes in a stream.

And yes, granted, that sounds more twee than a basket filled of tweed owls, but there’s a more muscular side to The Junipers that stop them from being the latest drippy ukulele enthusiasts destined to provide a soundtrack to a pro-biotic yoghurt. The drugged, coming-up ambiance that emanates through the album guarantees you won’t vomit with sugar-overload.

Elsewhere, surefire single contender, ‘Dandelion Man’ sees the band displaying their cajones more than before, turning the amps up to warm fuzz, not to mention an almost foot-on-the-monitor moment that comes with the guitar solo in ‘In My Reverie’.

Fact is, there aren’t many better, more inventive bands around that The Junipers. They’re bold without over egging it and have an ear for a melody that is obviously indebted to McCartney when he left the Beatles and took up recording in a shed, as well as that glorious slow funk of the Small Faces ‘Autumn Stone’ and Neil Young Harvest-era, without wallowing in self-imposed pity or pointless analysing.

In pop music, the hardest trick in the world is to convincingly convey a shot of positivity, so often succumbing to forced fun. Likewise, capturing the mood of the ’60s is nigh-on impossible, with most groups growing Fab Four mops or flinging out tired Byrdsian pap. The Junipers understand what made the ’60s so creatively fun without ever forgetting what constitutes a great pop song.

They’ve captured the mood, not to mention the hearts of anyone with a decent pair or ears. The Junipers are back and, in a just universe, we’d hand the keys to the world to them because they can do no wrong. Until then, ‘Paint The Ground’ has come to improve your summer three millionfold.

Get on board.
Mof Gimmers


  1. Great stuff, thanks from all at SUGARBUSH RECORDS

  2. will do all they can too.

  3. This is really strong stuff. Nice work.