Home > Bargain > Jucifer – Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip

Jucifer – Calling All Cars on the Vegas Strip

juciferCapricorn Records, 1999

Found this record at the nearby Salvation Army thinking it had to be something interesting.  It had light blue colors as well as rather cutesy font on most of the record, yet the woman on the cover was aiming a gun at me.  I had no idea whether I had an indie pop record in my hands or some kind of experimental noise outfit.  Turns out I was wrong on both fronts.

Jucifer’s debut record is heavier than one might expect.  A band consisting of only two people, the duo lays a very gritty sound while Amber Valentine’s high pitched, girlish vocals switches from yelping to singing patiently throughout each song.  The band’s sound can’t be described as purely heavy metal with quick riffs and thrashing about, but it’s certainly not indie rock.  It’s more like musical sludge, where the listener has to wade through and search for the occasions that make one interested in further listening.

Jucifer mostly dabbles with the slower stuff, like “Code Escovedo” and the great “Malibu”.  Thankfully, they do manage to jack it up to a chaotic level with some explosive tunes like “Long Live the King” and “Superman”, which either come across as ripping headbangers or simply noise.  I feel they’re aiming for the former, even if I have no idea what Valentine is yelling/whispering about most of the time.  Then, suddenly, there’s a tune like “44: Dying in White” that has a chorus that sounds like it wants to be a surf pop tune, even if the music around it is certainly heavier.  So, not only is this record a bit confusedly diverse, but Valentine’s frantic guitar work and Edgar Livengood’s thumping drums insists you listen to each track to see what they’ll do next.

Go see what Jucifer are up to on their website and, while you’re there, listen to a few tunes on MySpace in some other window.

It might take a few listens to appreciate the record, but in an age where most bands are being a little too precious to stomach, Jucifer gives hope that different approaches are still tried. I’m very happy to see that these guys weren’t a one-and-done outfit and are still putting out solid records, including their well-received 2008 release “L’autrichienne”.  Since I’m still mining some appreciation out of this one, it was certainly a good dollar spent.  Check out some Jucifer, people!

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