Almost four years after their debut full length album, the husband and wife team of Chris and Dexy Valentine return with Jupiter. They’ve rounded out the band with the rhythm section of Tommy Alexander on bass and Keith Crutchfield on drums, enabling Chris to focus more on guitars. Jupiter is a second helping of lovely and mysterious music, this time with added muscle. Gone are the tropical drinks and warm breezes of Aloha Moon, yet there is still plenty of heat and excitement to be heard on Jupiter.
The big leap for Magic Wands is the harder edge, more guitars and less keyboards. Dexy is still singing of rockets in space, as heard on Lazer Bitch yet the inclusion of tougher guitars and a buff rhythm section add danger and menace to the song. Chariot has a fast beat and rumbling bass, guitars flicker about and Dexy’s coo incites you to do something you might not regret. On the title track the music may be warm but it sure isn’t fuzzy: sharp edges and shiny surfaces abound as Crutchfield lays out a slow drum beat, Chris’s guitars echo, buzz and clang, Dexy’s voice calling from afar in the most alluring way.
Magic Wands invite you to visit Dream Street, all swirling and echoing guitars, tap-tap-tapping cymbals and Alexander’s molten bass tone bringing you further into the band’s world, Dexy’s sexy voice your guide to unknown pleasures. I’ll Never Go There Again picks up the energy with lively percussion, an invigorating melody and Dexy’s vocals drifting and falling among some very rocking guitars. Heartbeat gets the blood boiling with another incredible bass tone, Chris’s guitars bending and jangling, Dexy singing yearningly. The album closes with Jupiter II, a ten minute long ambient synthesizer soundtrack as you ponder the vastness of life, the universe and everything.
(by Bret Miller)