Review Summary: 3 Unshaven Melbourne lads make good on eclectic debut.
The Midnight Juggernauts first caught my attention as I was watching a replay of the 2008 Big Day Out. I had heard of these guys previously, but knew nothing of their sound or lineup so immediately I had to find out. I went onto their Myspace and found more of their music, and since that point, I've been hooked.
So firstly, the Juggy's are:
* Vincent Vendetta - Lead Vocals/Keyboard/Guitar
* Andy Juggernaut - Guitar/Bass/Backing Vocals
* Daniel "Thunderfist" Stricker - Drums
The only real constant in all of the songs is Daniel on the drums, Vincent and Andy can both play Keyboard, Guitar and Bass and interchange live.
The album has a basic concept of alien invasion and the human reaction to it.
1. Intro 0.57
Nothing huge her, just a deliberate beaming sound and beeping, creating a spacey atmosphere and setting up the first track, 'Ending Of An Era' (3/5)
2. Ending Of An Era 4.51
nThe song starts with with a traditional rock drumbeat, then produces a continuous organ riff to kick off the first song of the album. Vincent rhymes verses over the top of the hook, telling a story of an earth invasion by forces above. This song kicks the album into gear and provides a good backdrop for what coming. (4/5)
3. Into The Galaxy 4.54
This is the Juggy's best known song, a sweeping synth and driving drumbeat kicking off the song. The verses describe the transition of human life being forced into 'Dystopia', the chorus designating "Floating to the edge of the world/ Floating to the edge of the sea/Floating off the edge of the ocean/Out into the galaxy." Possibly the best song on the album (5/5)
4. Shadows 4.17
The Juggy's present their first taste of disco and funk on this track. A fleeting keyboard riff introduces the song, then Vincent sings over a groovy bassline and banging drums. The story continues to describe the earths demise, as we discover aliens hiding in the 'Shadows.' The rain like riff through the song is the real highlight, creating a desperate, isolated atmosphere. (4/5)
5. Worlds Converged 2.03
I would say this is the first real 'filler' song of the album, but don't panic, this is not a bad thing. The song starts with a band vocal harmony then moves into a catchy drumbeat and chords laid down over wanting lyrics. This song is really a tribute to the earth and the end of human life on it, and it is at a good spot on the album. It's short, but I like it. (3.5/5)
6. Dystopia 2.55
Ah so we've come to the title track, although it is surprisingly short. An industrial sounding beat introduces, for the first time on the album, an acoustic guitar. The verses are sung softly and we are now seeing a picture of earth, post-invasion and there is obvious darkness abundant. I love the dynamic of the song but would have liked it to have been longer or more climactic. (3/5)
7. Road To Recovery 6.21
Well, almost half the album has gone, and it seems the band has gone into a much slower, softer path, however this song comes along and gives it a kick in the right direction. A song I would describe as the Juggy's first attempt at Prog, I think it is one of the highlights of the album. A dance beat and hook throw this song into hyper drive and we see a change in mood as well. After a short verse we are taken to the multi-layered chorus repeating the lines "Path to discovery/Road to recovery" and for the first time we see some very impressive drumming. The synths are magical once again as mankind still has a chance at life with the discovery of Dystopia. (4.5/5]
8. Scorpius 1.19
Another filler song, however this one seems meaningless and really could have been used as the ending to the previous song. Some nice sounds are being created over a simple drum as the new mood is reflected. (2.5/5)
9. Twenty Thousand Leagues 4.27
The dance theme continues with this masterful song. Synth riffs are very fitting as is the bassline underlining them and the chorus is as the most hard-hitting on the album. It seems a very celebratory song, and why not", the humans now have a new home and they can continue life without hassle. Easily the most consistent song on the album . (5/5
10. Tombstone 4.05
Daft Punk, eat your heart out, the Juggy's have found a vocoder. The synth riff comps the lyrics which are simple, yet effective and we jump from current human life, to the aliens first invasion and the reaction behind it. The song is the catchiest on the album and easily one of the best, although if there is any criticism behind it, it is the repetition of the verse. (4.5/5)
11. Nine Lives 4.37
10 songs have gone and we had to have a love cry somewhere along the line. The song is another 'dancy' song, but a slow, more heartfelt one at that. The album has taken on a slightly personal twist, Vincent describing a lost love singing to him and fueling his "cyclone heart." The album is slowly coming back from orbit, but not losing any of it's sincerity. (4.5/5)
12. So Many Frequencies 3.42
An organ riff and rigid bassline sweep through the intro then lock it into a rhymed verse. We are again taken back through the story to remind us of the frustration and confusion of the original alien invasion. The verses in this song are similar to that of 'Ending Of An Era', but the song keeps its originality with the chorus picking the song up. The song is then broken down and then smashed back to the roaring chorus. We saw the physical destruction of the earth in the first 7 songs of the album, but the last 6 are as interesting, touching on the emotional damage the invasion has caused. (4/5]
13. Aurora 5.53
Last song on the album and it's absolutely incredible. That acoustic guitar is back and the effects from the intro are now being revealed. As the chorus hits the song, we hear a gradual of synths bringing the lyrics to new horizons both figuratively and literally. The invasion is now a distant memory and human life can look forward to a better future with a bright new sun on the horizon. A climatic and special closing, Dystopia is now perfectly complete. (5/5
Dystopia is an absolutely masterful debut album full of lush sounds, vibrant atmospheres and careful crafted effects. Lyrics are cryptic and never quite black and white, and many interpretations can be put on the stories of the album. With a new shift in attitudes and the popularity of the indie-electro crossover, Midnight Juggernauts have an exciting future and Dystopia really lays down a foundation for any future success.
-Synth-riffs are very fitting
-Changes in pace and mood
-The story is enthralling
-Can rarely hear guitars/bass clearly
-Vincent's voice may turn some people off (I personally enjoy it)
-Drum-beats may be a bit repetitive