Punk Goes the Velvet (EP) by Jupiter in Velvet
Blushing with a grainy melodic distortion in “Get Out.” Melding a gothic synth melody with a guttural industrial beat in “Please Don’t Ever Let Me Go.” Attacking us with sheer speed and a take no prisoners mentality in “Not Again.” Strutting with an angst-ridden, garage rock swing in “Dimestore Suave” and “And so the Earth Stood Still.” In the five song EP Punk Goes the Velvet, Jupiter in Velvet drops what could be his fieriest work so far, and undisputedly one of the sharper alternative rock records out this autumn.
Punk Goes the Velvet is a relatively simple record – it runs a modest fifteen minutes in total length and contains some diverse but ultimately uncomplicated compositional styles, and its central focus remains the energy its star performer puts into every one of its tracks. Rather than trying to overthink his rebel yell as so many of his closest rivals in the American underground would have in a similar set of circumstances, Jupiter in Velvet is sticking with the basics, respecting the fundamentals if you will, and thus elevating his status in the hierarchy of indie rockers in 2020.
There’s definitely a lot of grit in this tracklist, starting with “And so the Earth Stood Still” and reaching a fever pitch by the time we come crashing into the conclusion with “Get Out,” and I think it was necessary to leave a lot of the music a little unvarnished in the big picture as to facilitate more catharsis. In punk rock, half of the freeing feeling that we get on the other side of a chorus comes from the release of tension in the instrumentation more than it does anything actually coming undone in the melody – hence why a song like “Not Again” can administer so much relief inside of only one minute and fifty-nine seconds of play.
The overall structure of Punk Goes the Velvet is respectably old school, bringing to mind Fugazi and Black Flag from a conceptual point of view, and it often feels more like a sampler of alternative styles than it does a streamlined attempt at scoring more points in the underground. There’s no pretentiousness on the part of Jupiter in Velvet to be found in this extended play, and even though it’s a short record by all measurements, the vast aesthetical ground it covers and confidence it boasts gives it the authentic presence of an LP.
An adept take on legendary styles influential to everything from contemporary rock to hip-hop, electropop and beyond, Jupiter in Velvet’s Punk Goes the Velvet is a solid listen no matter what your interest level in alternative music is. Personally I think it would be very interesting to hear a full-length album focused specifically on some of the elements of this record drawn directly from the realm of post-punk (especially given the surreal qualities found in a lot of Jupiter in Velvet’s past recordings), but no matter what comes next, I plan on keeping this artist on my radar.