Monday, October 17, 2016

Juliet Huns - Behind the Scenes

While scientists release papers asserting that modern pop music is in the throes of a continual “dumbing down” process that makes intrinsic elements of the art like melody more uniform and predictable than ever, they ignore the brightest stars in the firmament because they haven’t yet achieved the same notoriety as their more highly paid and visible counterparts. Juliet Huns is one of those bright stars. This young Kenyan born singer’s debut release, Behind the Scenes, is a three song EP with some of the best pop songs heard in recent memory. However, pop music isn’t her only approach. The three songs on this brief release dabble with other complementary elements, like the sort of approach rock bands take to writing and constructing their material, and certainly attempts raising the bar about how articulate pop songs can or should be. The production is equally solid while eschewing predictability. It would have been very easy for Huns’ collaborators to focus the production on her voice, but instead, they wisely take a balanced approach that looks to blend her voice in with the instrumentation so listeners enjoy this material as the fully-rounded songs they are intended to be.  

The opener is, arguably, the most traditionally pop minded effort on Behind the Scenes. “Realized” gains a lot from the crescendos and breakdowns that Huns embeds within the track, but it’s just as invigorating without them. She sings with a combination of passion and joy that never sways her from pursuing the most spot-on phrasing that she can muster. The lyrical content is sharp and intelligent without ever denying listeners entry into the experience of the song. The EP’s second track, “Gone”, is cut from a much rougher cloth that sonically embodies the experience of the lyrics. The desperation and pain coming through in her words and vocals never dampens a listener’s experience of the song because it’s rendered with such emphatic resolve. The guitar sounds introduced here are an interesting stylistic twist that she sounds quite at home with; if anything, particularly on the chorus, these unusual sounds for a pop song of this stripe seem to further inspire her.  

The EP’s final track, “Red Line”, alternates more sedate passages with intense musical interludes within a small amount of space. None of the songs run too long, but this closer might be the most perfectly orchestrated track on the release. Huns shows a great deal of sharp minded judgment to exert just the right amount of emotion during the verses but yet pick up her game for the choruses./ The imagery from this song will strike all listeners as being familiar, but Huns handles it differently with her well-phrased lyrical content and phrasing that makes something new out of something familiar. Behind the Scenes ends on this passionate final note, but it merely whets listeners appetites for her next release. This is a rare talent with an assortment of skills – she isn’t just a capable singer, but an all-around artist. 

9 out of 10 stars 

Montey Zike 

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