Music, Print, Reviews May 5, 2020

Album Review: JuiceBox – JuiceBox EP

by Valerie Vampola

A new band, JuiceBox, emerges from the ashes of Colorado funk outfit Moves at Midnight to deliver a self titled EP. JuiceBox produces retro, funky sounds reminiscent of times before most of us were even sipping on Capri Suns. They combine elements of funk, rock, and R&B with strong horn lines under a 70’s aesthetic umbrella, curating a collection of fun jams for bouncing to.

“Starship Joint” pays homage to the Lakeside classic “Fantastic Voyage,” maintaining a steady, jam-like groove and a bassline that mimics that same feel all the way down to the effects. Further, the lyrics of “Ain’t No Thang” and “Booty Jams” invite listeners to move with the Denver-based quintet, much as the classics do. But despite nods to the older generation, the band needs to do a lot more listening to the classics, as there is an underlying element missing from the album as a whole: It seems JuiceBox are still searching for their soul.

JuiceBox brings in influences from other genres like alternative rock on songs such as “That’s No Moon,” which breaks into an instrumental interlude with a rock backbeat. They also implement a popular rock practice, allowing the guitar to make lead appearances, whereas guitarists play a more percussive and rhythmic role in traditional funk music.

But rather than the rock touches adding to the overall mix, it makes it seem as if the band is hesitant to commit to either. Though polished, JuiceBox’s EP lacks a certain attitude that pulls a group out of the garage band aesthetic and onto a curated Spotify playlist. The musical ideas don’t have to be deep – bands like Tower of Power and Jamiroquai made a nice living off selling sugar – but to bring the juice to the next level, the music needs Soul with a capital ‘S.’