Monday, February 22, 2010

Top 50 Albums of the 00s - #32: Juno - A Future Lived in Past Tense

Yep, we're counting down the top 50. Click here for overview and criteria.

This album feels like a journey...No. Wait a sec. This album is a journey, one that takes a long time. It's not so clear where we're going there, but the getting there is all around us. The ebbs and flows are taken in broad, sweeping strokes. It's an album that is brimming with self-confidence, not really caring if you follow all of its points in detail. It knows you're coming along for the ride.

We begin with only an organ and weave our way through a five minute instrumental track which is clearly just there to set the table. A bright guitar riff then kicks off "Covered with Hair," a ramshackle piece of music that intentionally never finds its groove. Of course a groove is not the point. The point is guitars that fuzz with the best of them, drums that pound in seemingly every direction, and vocals that are shouted but not screamed.

We never really get on stable footing. Each song is in its own place, then the journey continues to the next one. The centerpiece is the over 10 minute "The French Letter", a song that takes its sweet time getting to the point. But, then again, that's kind of the point as well. Once it does kick in, its patience has paid off.

Very much of its time (early 2001), it is blatantly Post-Jesus and Mary Chain/Soundgarden, and sadly pre-nothing. Had Juno come along a bit sooner, these guys would have been Sunny Day Real Estate. (Please don't say, "Who?", kiddos.) This record could have easily been regarded as the one that marked the dead end of the alternative era, if only more people knew about it.

So how does it make my Top 50 these nine years later if it's dated? Again, this is all about my enjoyment level, and while this A Future Lived in Past Tense has really never been in consistent rotation for very long, it's one I find myself returning to every year. Listening to it is like watching one of your favorite old movies - something you enjoy just for yourself. You know all the twists and turns, but you just love watching them unfold again.

Apparently they had a new album come out in 2008, but there's scant information about it. File this band in the consistently bursting "too bad they didn't make it" drawer. But maybe one of you will get into them now. As they say on "When I was In," it's all a matter of reaching.

Live version

Previous Entries:
#33 - Bad Religion - The New America
#34 - Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
#35 - Rodrigo y Gabriela - Rodrigo y Gabriela
#36 - Wolf Parade - At Mount Zoomer
#37 - Crooked Fingers - Red Devil Dawn
#38 - The National - Boxer
#39 - Hot Water Music - Caution
#40 - Eels - Daisies of the Galaxy
#41 - Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike
#42 - Okkervil River - Black Sheep Boy

No comments: