Jukestone Paradise, the latest full-length studio effort from Pimps of Joytime, is one of this year’s best new independent albums. In the case of this review, independent refers to the fact that the album, which is available now, has been released via an independent record label, Write Home Records. Having noted this, anyone that is a fan of Robert Randolph, Sly and the Family Stone and others of that ilk will especially enjoy this record. That is thanks in large part to the album’s mix of blues, funk, soul, and pop. Lyrically the album reaches into a number of different topics, which in its own right makes the album just as interesting a new release for the Brooklyn, New York-based act. One example of the its various musical and lyrical reaches comes in the old school funk-influenced ‘Body Party.’ This celebratory piece is laid back, musically speaking. Yet the coupling of its musical and lyrical side gives it a certain energy that is sure to get listeners on their feet, singing and dancing along whether at a party or at home. POJ (as it will henceforth be called) also touches on a more personal matter early on in the form of ‘Heart is Wild.’ Musically, this song also exhibits an obvious old-school influence that is just as certain to catch audiences’ ears. Lyrically, it comes across as a declaration of self-worth despite the view of others on a person. It is a declaration that comes across in a wholly positive fashion not just lyrically but musically, too. Such uplifting lyrics set alongside the song’s equally almost celebratory musical side makes this song one of the highest points of Jukestone Paradise. ‘Freedom Dancer,’ the album’s closer presents its own positive lyrical message and equally positive music that once again is certain to put just as much of a smile on listeners’ faces as they dance and sing along. It’s just one more example of why audiences will enjoy this record. It isn’t the last, either. The album’s obviously Robert Randolph-influenced opener ‘Red Golden,’ is another of the album’s high points as is the laid back groove of ‘Waiting for My Ride.’ Those familiar with their music history may even recognize the keyboard line that serves as the song’s foundation. It’s one more way in which this record proves to be a record that any listener will love and a record that is entirely deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new independent albums.
POJ’s new album Jukestone Paradise boasts a total of ten tracks and tops off at no more than forty-five minutes. That really is not that long of a run time considering the album’s total makeup. Even at such a relatively average run time, it still offers so much enjoyment that at no one point does the album ever feel like it passes by too quickly or slowly. One of its best offerings comes in the form of its celebratory party-perfect song ‘Body Party.’ This piece is one that audiences will love whether at a party or pumping on the radio. Vocalist Mayteana Morales sings over he song’s funk-influenced musical side, “It don’t matter what shoes you wear/Long as you show up and you don’t care/I might have said care/But I meant don’t give a f***/Cause at the end of the night/Got a bunch of lugs who show up.” Lyrically and musically the song continues on in the same positive fashion straight through to the end. Its musical side grooves so solidly that it will instantly have any listener on his or her feet instantly. The song taken wholly into consideration, it shows to be one of the year’s top new party anthems. And given the proper support it will be one of the year’s top new party anthems playing at clubs and parties across the country. It is just one song from this album that proves the support that the album in whole deserves, too. ‘Heart is Wild,’ which comes earlier in the record, is another excellent example of what makes this album so enjoyable.
‘Heart Is Wild’ is another interesting part of the whole of Jukestone Paradise that makes this album such an enjoyable work. The song is a piece that comes across as a statement of self-worth so to speak. That interpretation comes across as lead vocalist Brian J sings over the song’s funky guitar line and equally grooving bongo line, “People say/That I need/To get my s*** together/They don’t know/They don’t understand/You can’t feel/What I do/Or who I am/My heart is wild/Well I don’t forget/I won’t forfeit/Got a fire burning inside/Haters hate and I keep creatin’/Don’t have to question why/I’m a laid back jack…Paid the cost to be my own boss/Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that y’all.” That’s a pretty clear statement. It leaves very little to the imagination in terms of interpretation. And that’s not a bad thing, either. Lyrically and musically, Brian J and company keep the positive vibes coming right to the end. Those positive vibes will inspire any listener and move them to dance and sing along again and again. Considering the general makeup of so many funk and R&B songs out there, it’s a fully welcome change of pace. And such a change of pace makes it all the more reason for audiences to hear not just this song but Jukestone Paradise in whole.
Both ‘Heart is Wild’ and ‘Body Party’ are excellent examples of the joy that POJ offers listeners with its latest full-length studio effort. They are both but a tiny glimpse into what the group has to offer listeners on this its latest album. The album’s closer ‘Freedom Dancer’ is one more clear look at what makes Jukestone Paradise such a joy. At well over eight minutes in length, it is the longest of the album’s compositions. That doesn’t take anything away from the song, though. It will make listeners feel just as good as either of the album’s previously noted songs. That’s thanks to its musical mix of modern and old school influences and equally inspiring lyrics. The group sings together over the song’s old school funk sound, “Stepped outside/Of the way that I used to be/Stepped outside/Of the way that I used to see/Can’t stop the clock/When your heart is blocked/You gotta push on through/You know you gotta bring it on up on this/It’s the only thing left to do/Some people/Always trying to be putting you down/They ain’t gonna feel it/I ain’t gonna feel it/When the spirit gone’ come around/I’m a freedom dancer/I’m gonna dance awhile.” This lead verse along speaks volumes. The group is saying clearly to audiences that if you feel moved to dance, then dance. Don’t let anyone stop you whether they be dance critics, hipsters who think they’re too good for anyone, or any other type. When the spirit moves a person to dance, it does just that. No one can predict when it’s going to happen. The spirit obviously moved the band in the second half of this song (and will move listeners just as much). That’s because the entire second half of the eight-minute plus song is a full on instrumental jam that will move listeners to dance till they sweat. It’s just one more way that POJ proves how much the group has to offer audiences on this record. It most certainly isn’t the last, either. The album’s obviously Robert Randolph-influenced opener ‘Red Golden’ and the laid back groove of ‘Waiting For My Ride’ are two more examples of what makes this album so enjoyable. Whether for those two tracks, the other compositions noted here or those not noted Jukestone Paradise in whole proves itself to be an album that everybody will enjoy. It is an album that is more than deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new independent releases at the very least.
Jukestone Paradise proves over the course of ten tracks and roughly forty-five minutes that it is deserving of being added to any critic’s list of 2015’s top new independent releases at the very least. It is possible that it could even be added to any critic’s list with its old school musical vibe and its equally inspiring and enlightening lyrics. This applies both to the songs noted here and those not noted. POJ is scheduled to hit the road again beginning May 14th in Atlanta, Georgia in support of Jukestone Paradise. Fans can pick up Jukestone Paradise at any of the group’s upcoming shows, in stores and online, too. Fans can get a full list of the group’s upcoming tour dates online now along with the group’s latest news at:
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