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A Bit More Vitriol: Bluejuice

Describing their sound as “too straight for funk, too groovy for indie rock and too sweaty for pop”, Bluejuice sport an aggressive, party-oriented mix of rock, hip-hop, electro and dance, all delicately laced with a winning tongue-in-cheek attitude and spirit.

Since their formation almost nine years ago, Bluejuice have received countless nominations and awards for their musical efforts, including Best Emerging Artist in the 2007 Australian Music Prize for their debut album Problems, which further went on to pick up a four out of five rating from Australia’s Rolling Stone magazine. It also received countless hours of airplay on Triple J, with their single ‘Vitriol’ being the highest played song for almost a year and going on to be voted number 11 in the Triple J Hottest 100 for 2007. Few would have predicted such great success for five twenty something year olds who started out as a self-professed “jazzy instrumental band playing 3 hour long funk dirges at the pub every Sunday”.

Despite their unlikely start, the great acclaim for their infectious single ‘Vitriol’ and wild on stage antics led to them being signed to Australian record label Dew Process. With the pressure of expectation building for their follow up album, the band slipped away to record Head of the Hawk.

“We just wanted to make it good, and try to at least replicate the success that ‘Vitriol’ had,” says bassist Jamie Cibej. “It was our first recording on a label and with management, and while they didn’t pressure us in the slightest, we were aware that there was a bit more at stake this time. We certainly put a lot of pressure on ourselves.”

Produced by Chris Shaw and embodying a hefty enthusiasm mostly unheard of in today’s pop rock and roll, Head of the Hawk sees Bluejuice transform their upbeat, simplistic rock and roll into R&B infused indie pop with soul. Debuting at number 37 on the Australian music charts, the album merges a combination of genres and sounds, delivering elements of psychosis that fans have some to expect from the band. While their second album reveals a change in sound from the heavily hip hop influenced Problems, Head of the Hawk ticks all the right boxes for an enjoyable, fun, easy to listen to album.

“We’ve certainly been more hip hop at certain times, more rock or pop at others, but we’ve never been obviously one genre,” reflects Jamie. “Our first single, ‘Broken Leg’ had more pop hooks than any of the other songs, and both the label and we were reasonably confident about releasing it. I’d say a song like ‘Little Emperor’ is more representative of the album as a whole – it’s less slick and a bit more raucous. The challenge for us has always been to try and make all different bits sound like they’re one band – I think we’re starting to get there.”

With personality and colour, Bluejuice’s brand of rock and roll enlightened enthusiasm is beginning to replace their aloof staunchness. While they still inhabit the trendy skinny-jean, crooked toothed smile and drunkenly disheveled torn t-shirt image, Bluejuice deliver it with sassy R&B rhythms and unashamedly pop structures.

Bluejuice is playing this Thursday (tomorrow) at the Metro Theatre, and we have two double-passes to give away! How exciting. To win them, shoot us an email explaining why you wants them so. We’ll let you know if you’re going by tonight.

words: Jacinda Fermanis


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