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Jupiter in Velvet’s Anthems2Love 

It’s difficult to believe while listening to Jupiter in Velvet’s Anthems2Love he ever considered a different path than music. He began playing music at an early age but soon felt the pull of practicality drag him towards a more traditional career. He received an undergraduate degree in marketing, a MBA in finance, and began working towards a PhD in finance before his journey took another turn. During a South African visit, Velvet came to the realization that, for him, money couldn’t be everything. Pursuing his musical ambitions made him happiest and he decided to finish the current semester and quit school. He played with a variety of bands over the next few years before he relocated to the UK and embarked on his solo career. 2012’s debut Screaming the Love Behind the Scars was the first step leading him to his 2019 release Anthems2Love.

The new release begins with a level of familiarity longtime Jupiter in Velvet listeners will enjoy. “A Cooler Shade of Mad” is a stereotypical Velvet rock song, in some respects, with its blending of disparate guitar sounds into a coherent whole, individualistic vocal phrasing, and his unerring instinct for dressing time-tested compositional turns in new and colorful garb. Newcomers to his music will likely latch onto his obvious talent for crafting memorable choruses, the vocal style, and the enveloping production that makes hearing this track a nearly interactive experience.

“If Not Peace… (Then It’s War)” has a title promising rock guitar theatrics galore, but Velvet subverts your expectations to a point. It does have a bruising production style that doesn’t allow listeners any respite from Velvet’s musical muscle, but it is artful throughout the performance rather than making a crude impact on listeners. “Stand Up” is another peak moment included on Anthems2Love and definitely lives up to the EP’s billing as a collection of “anthems”, but Jupiter doesn’t grab on to that style in an overly obvious fashion. Instead, “Stand Up” feints, bobs, and weaves creatively and even mixes some unexpected blues influences in its slide guitar opening. There are many tools at Jupiter in Velvet’s disposal and he isn’t shy about using any of them. His talent for writing memorable choruses comes through here stronger than anywhere else on the release.

Another strong guitar-driven tune is “Forever & A Day”. The crashing guitar work streaked through this performance gains additional energy from one of Jupiter in Velvet’s best vocals on the release. He varies it with compositional shading in the song’s second half as it takes on a much airier and slowly evolving feel. He ends the track as it began, however. There’s a march-like stride defining the track’s movement that gives it an anthemic quality as well. Anthems2Love has anthems, yes, but there are anthems cut from a Jupiter in Velvet cloth rather than bloated with the cookie cutter mentality defining many similar efforts from other performers. It’s another impressive entry in a growing discography and Jupiter in Velvet shows no signs of creative fatigue after almost ten years.

Mindy McCall



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