The self-titled debut album from Juniper is a blast of girl power circa 1963, complete with roller coasters, badly behaving boys, and crushes galore. There’s a spooky kinship here with the distinctive girl singers sound of Linda Scott’s “(I Told) Every Little Star,” the Angels’ “My Boyfriend’s Back,” Skeeter Davis’ “Gonna Get Along Without You Now,” and just about any track from Lesley Gore’s Golden Hits. Tracks like “Boys! Boys! Boys! Boys! Boys!” “Girls Just Want a Boy To Rest Their Head Upon,” and “Gotta Draw the Line” could easily slip onto any 1960s Connie Francis or Brenda Lee LP. But the album also takes those influences in a more contemporary direction, sounding very early Go Go’s on “Kids on the Corner” or vibing a low key 1980s pop psychedelia with “I Don’t Want to Dream About You.” “Punk Rock Boy” and “Everybody has a Crush on Chad” even veer into well-behaved rock and roll (with a touch of glam on the latter). Single? I’d go with “Best Kept Secret,” a hooky poprock delight with just hint of off-kilter indie charm, evoking more recent artists like Jeanines or Lisa Mychols. But then again I’m pretty partial to “Sticking with Henry,” a retro workout that somehow sounds so fresh and now. Credit here has to go the album’s producer and musical director, Michael Shelley, who wrote or co-wrote eight of the record’s twelve songs, and assembled a dream team of players from bands like the Mekons, the Smithereens, Los Straightjackets, Look Park, and many others.
Get the jump on your summer fun listening with this lovingly crafted collection of retro-infused, chaperone-approved, catchy teenage party tunes. Juniper can be found on Bandcamp and other e-music services.