Juniper Bush’s ‘Healing Through A Sonic Figure’ Out Now Via Transistor 66
Healing Through A Sonic Figure, the debut full-length record from Winnipeg psych-rock/shoegaze troupe Juniper Bush is out now via Transistor 66. The album deals, in part, with finding one’s way through the other side of painful experiences towards a better sense of truth.
Of the eight songs contained on the record, five of them revolve around different phases in a troubled relationship and the challenges of returning to a partner in the throes of drug addiction. Atop chaotic, wall-of-noise chords, “Hindsight” is a dance with intuition and knowing, and “Foresight” is the loss of self that ensues. On “Turn,” vocalist/guitarist Lizzy Burt sings about the inner turmoil of a complicated love, and how patterns repeat despite life’s lessons. With the loud-quiet-loud dynamics of “Slowly,” there is a sense of resignation; and on the final tune of the suite, “And You,” the band offers the sort of swooning melancholy that will make you want to revel in gloom just a little bit longer. The lifeblood of each song is Burt’s celestial voice, capturing the agony of the experience with each fragile breath.
“Initially we wanted to release those five songs about letting go and coming back as an EP, but we continued to write,” says Burt, the group’s lead songwriter. “Music is a huge part of how I process very personal things in my life. Making this record felt like a turning point in my healing process after some pretty difficult times.”
Interspersed are blasts of catharsis in the heaving, uninhibited riffs of “Who Are You?,” about the inevitability that someone close will completely forget who you are and vice versa; and “Follow My Lead,” whose droney melodies and fuzzy freakouts were inspired by the experimental folk of Vashti Bunyan and ‘90s-era grunge.
Elsewhere, “Colleen,” tells the story of a young woman who was tragically tortured and murdered in 1995 due to a perceived but non-existent love triangle. In 2017, Burt was approached through her work as a life model to appear in an episode of a true crime series and play the role of the woman. “I started researching the story of Colleen Slemmer, and the next day a melody started nagging at me,” she says. “I wrote the song almost instantly—which never happens. It was as if the song was pre-packaged in my mind. After playing the role, I went into a deep depression. I felt a bone-shaking sadness thinking about how she never got a chance. That song is really special to me.”
Juniper Bush formed in 2016, anchored by the angelic vocals of Lizzy Burt (Basic Nature) and the collective superpowers from the best of Winnipeg’s psych-rock scene: Adrian Schroeder (Black Cloud), and Danny Hacking and Kyle Loewen (Holy Void and Surprise Party). The band merge the snarling psychedelia of The Black Angels, penetrative shoegaze of My Bloody Valentine (circa 1988), and the otherworldly alt-rock of The Cranberries into a concoction that’s both abrasive and sweet.Juniper Bush’s upcoming Western Canadian tour is now cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. The band will announce rescheduled dates in the coming months.
03. Who Are You
06. Follow My Lead
08. And You