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ALBUM REVIEW: Junior Citizens – Here in Golden Sun

While listening to an album, the concept of how it makes a person feel, or the “vibe” it gives off to the listener, is very important. Junior Citizens album Here in Golden Sun, makes that very clear, as each song has its own distinct sound and melody, that each listener can easily vibe to. Song by song, the album takes us through a journey with not only relatable lyrics, but strong vocal and instrumental harmonies.

“The word we kept using when describing the songs on Here in Golden Sun was "vibe." We wanted listeners to pick their favorite songs and add them to playlists, project their own meaning onto each song, and just vibe,” said Kyle O’Connell, guitarist for Junior Citizens. “With a more conceptual album, songs flow into each other in a specific way, locking their meaning to that time and place on the album. Rather than a painting, Here in Golden Sun is a tapestry.”

As with a previous album recorded by O’Connell titled HOMEBODIES, which mainly consisted of programed instruments including bass, keys and drums, Here in Golden Sun, recorded the instruments in real time, giving the album more of a natural sound.

“Having the actual drums recorded live and hearing the sound of the room in tracks, while the synth and cymbals build, feels so natural. The keys parts were played on a vintage Rhodes, through a '73 Twin Reverb and I mean come on, there's just nothing like that,” said O’Connell.

“It gave us all the freedom to do what we wanted and just goof around. Every Sunday, we would all get together and record our parts. It was such a fun time, pre-COVID, that I often fondly think back on.”

When asked about their favorite song on the album, all band members had a different opinion for a multitude of reasons.

“My favorite song on the album is “Bitter Boy,” said Drew Schneck, keys/guitarist for the group. “ What I love most about this track are the juxtaposing elements throughout each section of the song. The intro of the song starts with a slightly saturated guitar that establishes a jazzy rhythm before being accompanied by singular, wavy, chorus drenched guitar chords, and a tightly compressed drum beat. Sonically, the song gives the listener a warm and happy vibe, while the lyrics deliver deeper and darker concepts.”

Here in Golden Sun does a fantastic job in facilitating a specific message to its listener, during a time that was rough for many of us. Because of this, it is what makes it very unique from other albums I have recently listened to.

“Almost all of these songs were written during the height of COVID, so there's a lot of anxiety wrapped up in them. The anxiety isn't about COVID itself, but rather the side effects a lot of us faced: weight fluctuation, political concerns, just being around people again in general,” said O’Connell. “One of the feelings we wanted to capture was this anxiety on a beautiful day. It's such an interesting juxtaposition, that I thought could be captured in song. The music is fun and sunny, lots of major 7ths and minor 9ths and fun chord progressions, but with lyrics that are like "wow it sure does kind of suck to be a person right now.”

This is not all Here in Golden Sun has to offer its listeners and O’Connell wants to make this known to his fans.

“There were two songs that ended up not making the album, so in the coming months, we'll be releasing those as an A Side/B Side single. We also plan to do a video session with alternate arrangements of some of the Here in Golden Sun songs. We have a lot of songs sitting on the sidelines right now but this is the first time we haven't known in advance what the style or theme of the next album will be.”

 Grab Here in Golden Sun