Junius - Blood Is Bright (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Blood Is Bright (2006)


Boston? These guys are from fuckin' Boston? Sorry…let me explain my outburst. I like to listen to stuff I'm sent before even touching the bio/press sheet or looking at their website, so I can form my own opinions and comparisons before hearing what other people think. So after listening twice through this four-song EP, I was convinced this band was from England, with all the biting on British mopes like Joy Division and the Cure. And the lead singer sounds a bit like Ian Curtis, sometimes more like Robert Smith, and he even reminded me of Morrissey a couple times. Well, they fooled me. They're from Boston.

After a short ambient intro, Blood Is Bright, the band's second proper release and second EP, gets underway with the title track. It's got drumming that could be a dance beat if it weren't in half-time, and due to that and Joseph E. Martinez's vocals, Junius really calls to mind Joy Division here, or their 21st century counterparts, Interpol. The track later disintegrates into Hum style alternative rock -- a slow beat with furious, fuzzed guitars layered on top. I soon find this is a pattern, or perhaps a crutch of the band, when "A Word Could Kill Her" starts with the most driving beat found on the EP with some quick hihat work helping it along, but also ends up in a world of half-time fuzz-rock. OK, the spacey freakouts kinda bored me at first, but then I realized I was listening at too low a volume. The end of this song is cool, especially when it gets more metal with a "chug-chug-high-note" cliché thing like Thursday would do.

"In the Hearts of Titans" is a freakout practically the whole way through, and is almost instrumental until Martinez does his best Smith impression, inserting a few distorted bits throughout the chaos. Closer "At the Edge of Decay" begins with fuzzy bass and primal drums, while the guitars do their own thing way above them. This song contains the most interesting of all of Martinez's vocals, where he breaks the octave barrier and you can really hear a melody…well, at least until the guitars blast him out of the water.

Fresh off four sets at SXSW and prior to that a 6-week tour supporting Circle Takes the Square, I'm sure this band's fanbase is growing by leaps and bounds. However, for me, it's not much more than background music, with its layers of reverb and fuzz covering anything interesting that may be happening vocally, preventing it from staying with me. It's put together well for sure, but I'd go with more of the uptempo beats and rely less on the droning rock-outs, and let the vocals carry the load instead of letting them blend in and be forgotten. Well done though, and this still young band is off to a promising start -- now how ‘bout a full-length? I bet Junius has tunes just begging for the leg room of a full-length.