The Lucky Jukebox Brigade has caught my attention, because their particular brand of sound can only be described as innovative. This seven-piece, indie, cabaret group has created a sophomore album, Familiar Fevers, that will dominate their genre, while allowing other styles to catch-up. The cohesiveness of their original material is completely enthralling, and Familiar Fevers is fresh.
The album’s tone is established with “Darling, It’s the Future” and a lighthearted, ukulele. When singer Deanna DeLuke’s vocals and the song’s percussion kick in, it resembles a march, singing “I hear the marauders riding south/crack the sky/tear the angels down” and demands for, “cast your bayonets/hang ’em high/and let go like you mean it”. The song’s energy rises with each request, and the chorus displays a clear trumpet, while the song takes on a warlike identity.
The album’s next track, “The Shroud”, is completely different however, startling the listener with a fast and hard combination of drums. The melody never slows and the vocals keep pace, creating a hurried tale of horror with lyrics like, “in these empty halls, we wake the ballrooms of forgotten days/unearthed, the statues come alive”. The instruments are encouraged to wail, and the song only slows down somewhere in the middle, where a pleasant tuba, trumpet, and drum combination brings to mind carnival music, only to increase again. The rest of the song is rushed, teasing the listener with a fast melody and tongue-twister lyrics.
“They Chose Rapture” follows the same pattern, using the band’s brass instruments to create a mysterious, fearful melody. Eventually, behind the vocals, a delicate piano plays a constant rhythm, eliminating an earlier sense of fear. The song quickly turns into a more upbeat, melodic, creation, but offer another sense of scare with lyrics like, “their severed tongues won’t speak our names/hold real still, baby/and close your eyes now/and pray it’s over soon”. The song goes through another, major change and continues on with the horror story and a darker tone, with instruments that sound heavier and deep.
Another interesting track, “Glamour”, shows the band’s versatility. The song has an upbeat, 1950’s beach party sound, with light instruments and a poppy, middle of the song build-up. The chorus is completely happy, with a strong trumpet and “the mashed potato” dance vibe. The lyrical content is satirical and sassy, singing, “let’s make a scene/why don’t we take to the streets/let’s do it for the glamour”. “Glamour” is also the most constant song, sticking to the upbeat tone and melody, with little variations. The song has a special quality because it’s identity is so steady.
Familiar Fever‘s grand finale comes in two parts, “Lionel I” and “Lionel II”. “Lionel I” starts with a slow, calming trumpet, and long notes. As more instruments are added, the instrumental track becomes more dignified, gaining momentum as a solid call to action. With the brass instruments featured, the song mimics a battle cry. “Lionel II”, however, folds out to a pretty, sensual ballad, using a stream of trumpet, deep tuba, and vocal ranges to sway the listener. The song’s middle opens to the lyrical declarations, “we used to be the blameless/we never knew these were the olden days/now you’re giving in/and I won’t sleep again/knowing that the faithful got away”. But the song erupts into a fast-paced, angry anthem, declaring, “you’re all the things we swore we’d never be”. The Lucky Jukebox Brigade has a way of turning tricks, and “Lionel II” doesn’t end with that strong declaration, but continues into a completely different song, with straight guitar and begging, “wake me up now/make me beg for the dreams of the night”. The content and musical transformation happening in this song are extremely impressive and overwhelming, but completely in control of themselves. The listener is thrown into a twister.
The Lucky Jukebox Brigade has a strong passion for their craft, which is apparent in the way they handle their sound and their material, and that’s definitely attractive when listening to Familiar Fevers. Nothing is out-shined, yet every instrument, and vocal, is heard and featured, giving this album a range of ambitions and success. This band has established their brand and it’s time to eat it up.