Album Review: The Shelters – Jupiter Sidecar

Album Review: The Shelters – Jupiter Sidecar
Release Date: 9/20/19, Warner Records
Jupiter Sidecar
Album Review By Andrea Maciolek – Rock at Night, Philadelphia, US.

The golden boys from California have released their sophomore album, Jupiter Sidecar. It’s been three years since the band released their first self-titled album and from the sounds of their latest resurrection, the band has definitely gone through a musical metamorphosis.

The Shelters released the first single from Jupiter Sidecar, “Your Different” earlier this summer with much symbolic self-appease that something was going to be different in the direction of the new album. Symbolically and emotionally, this album means a lot to the band since they lost their greatest mentor Tom Petty back in October of 2017. Not only was Tom a mentor but he also produced the band’s first album and I am sure that without the wings of their mentor, the pressure of this album was a heavy load. As expected though, the band managed to produce something that would have made Tom extremely proud.

While reviewing this album, I had to get used to a sound that is different from the sound that was synonymous with the band from the start. With Jupiter Sidecar, the band seems to leave behind their laid-back, California retro-inspired musical charm and replaced it with a more synthesized, Euro edginess. This latest album surfaces more along the pop-rock genre than their previous nostalgic rock sound.

“You’re Different” is the first track of the album and it sets the standard for the entire album as there is a sound cohesiveness throughout the album with its use of effects. There appears to be an ode to outer space references not only with the title of the album but also within most of the songs. The fourth track of the album, “Strange”, has a retro  sci-fi intro reminiscent of a 50’s classic B movie space fantasy.

The sixth track, “Kimberly” brings the band back to American roots with a soft country inspired mix. This is perhaps the most unique song in the entire album and probably one of my favorites because it brings the band back to a sound similar to their first album which I have become quite accustomed to. “Nothing’s Safe Tomorrow” is  playful and upbeat- an 80’s pop banger probably because of the use of heavier synthesized textures.

Over all, Jupiter Sidecar brings the band to another interdimensional galaxy as they mix hyper electronics with very well rehearsed harmonies. It is a very different step into a more pop induced sound. It will take some getting used to if you really admired the last album but nonetheless you can’t deny that The Shelters are a very distinguished and talented band. Their instrumentation and harmonies are the best in the industry which is why after three years since their debut release, the band is still treading strong.

My top picks of the album: “Down the Line” because of its retro surfer feel and “Kimberly” because let’s face it, a ballad ala Shelters style is always a good thing.


Listen to the latest from The Shelters below:

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Andrea Ramirez Maciolek
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