The latest release from Jupiter in Velvet’s fecund songwriting imagination Anthems2Love immediately occupies a much deserved slot alongside his earlier collections. Velvet hasn’t changed in radical ways since first debuting but has accomplished something else two-fold – he refines his songwriting sensibilities with each new outing and illustrates the inexhaustibility of his personal brand of songwriting. It is rare for a musical artist this deep in his recording career to elude changes of self-plagiarism or repetition, but Jupiter in Velvet has admirably avoided rehashing his material and, instead, manages covering his compositions with a fresh coat of paint each time out while still maintaining steadfast fidelity to his core sound and approach. It’s no small thing and rates among the biggest reasons why he stands out in a crowded field.
The release starts well with the track “A Cooler Shade of Mad”. Jupiter has a wont for song titles with flair and the intriguing potential in this one should be obvious to all. It has a cinematic tilt as well – it’s hard not to notice how it transitions so well from its relatively sunny opening guitar chords into Velvet’s patented electro dance rock guitar beginning with the song’s first verse – it’s like a film shifting from black and white into color. The warm production throughout the opener helps keep the track crackling throughout and Jupiter’s vocal blends in well with musical sound.
The raw immediacy of both his vocals and musical presentation heard in the next track “If Not Peace… (Then It’s War)” is a bracing listening experience. He adopts a traditional rock drum sound for this performance that relentlessly pummels listeners but never succumbs to a bash and thud mentality. There’s always a musical touch in everything Jupiter does; it’s never just brute power at work. “Stand Up” is another example of that. Instead of pursuing the lowest common denominator and churning out a stomper, which the song structure supports, Jupiter delivers an idiosyncratic anthem with seemingly ramshackle rhythms and unusual guitar sounds.
“The Greatest Gift” is arguably the most delicate musical moment included on the release. This is a ballad, but it’s a Jupiter in Velvet ballad, meaning modulations of color are the order of the day rather than the typical paint by numbers approach personifying such songs. He adopts, once again, an unusual guitar sound and its chiming effects throughout the track give the performance an even more graceful touch. “We Are All ONE” closes Anthems2Love with Jupiter’s words about his belief in our universal connectedness – certainly not a message many music performers chase after with the passion Jupiter does. He frames the lyric with a musical arrangement full of the same color and imagination defining Anthems2Love’s finest material. This is one of the more personal releases in 2019 – not in the sense that Jupiter lays his autobiography bare for listeners, but in the way that it is apparent how close these songs are to the performer’s heart. The songs included on Anthems2Love want to communicate and do so very well.