Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Juliana Hatfield Three: "Whatever, My Love" (album review)

It's been almost 20 years since Juliana Hatfield recorded with the Juliana Hatfield Three, a line-up that arguably was responsible for the most successful run of her career.

On February 17th we get the long-awaited return of that trio, with the release of the crowd-funded album Whatever, My Love (full disclosure: I did contribute to the PledgeMusic campaign for the record).

The reunion seems to have done Hatfield wonders.  It's a refreshed and rejuvenated sound we get on the album.  That's obvious from the opener "Invisible", which has her voice sounding finer than it has in years.

Hatfield has always had a knack of taking a simple mid-tempo song and making it infectious.  The group accomplish that with the head-swaying "Now That I Have Found You", and the hook-filled earworm "If I Could".  It's a pop rock song that will stick in your brain well after the album is over.

The band's contributions are crucial.  A catchy little guitar riff makes "Ordinary Guy" the kind of no nonsense alternative rocker that we so rarely get nowadays.  A keyboard whirs, providing an all important element on "If Only We Were Dogs".

It's not all nostalgia on Whatever, My Love either.  An uncharacteristic country-feed cha-cha makes "Dog On a Chain" a must-listen.  An intriguing structure makes "Wood" almost waddle along (for the lack of a better descriptor).  It's not that successful, but it was worth taking the bold chance.

Whatever, My Love will obviously appeal to Hatfield enthusiasts.  However, it should also be a good tonic for music fans who think indie music has gotten too homogeneously electronic.

Best tracks: "Dog On a Chain", "If I Could"

Track listing for Whatever, My Love:
  • Invisible
  • Now That I Have Found You
  • Ordinary Guy
  • If Only We Were Dogs
  • I'm Shy
  • Dog On a Chain
  • If I Could
  • Push Pin
  • Blame The Stylist
  • I Don't Know What To Do With My Hands
  • Wood
  • Parking Lots

No comments: