It took Dishwalla twelve years to follow up their self-titled fourth album. A little sad when I'm a very big fan, but we got we’ve got a couple of awesome solo albums from the bands former singer, J.R Richards during this period. Because this is the first album with the band's current singer Justin Fox, who has actually been in the band for almost ten years.
It's really no easy task to face Dishwalla as J.R Richards was a cruel songwriter, but especially a singer. To me, one of the greatest through the ages of the genre, and no one has such a powerful yet as sensitive voice as him. And after giving Juniper Road a handful of listens, I have to say that it clearly shows what enormous asset he was for the band. Justin is not a bad singer, rather the opposite. But he does not have that little extra that made Dishwalla so unique and hugely underestimated that way to few knows about.
The songs also got the same problems as they’re good, but just lacks the little extra and can’t find any track that stand out. I feel a bit bitter and negative now as Juniper Road is a nice record that is well worth checking out. However, it does not reach the same high level as Dishwalla (2005) and the MAGICAL Opaline (2002) where you expect the band to be on.
I also have some problems with their “new” and simpler sound that feels like a mix between Del Amitri meets Collective Soul. The atmospheric and U2 smelling melodies that previously was the bands trademark is more less gone, which is another disappointment.
So overall a pretty record with some catchy songs, but that does not reach up to the levels that you probably expect.