Ypsi’s Juliets could’ve expanded and evolved the moods, sounds and styles of 2010’s Parade, (“If it ain’t baroque, don’t fix it?”), but Perfect Season proves to be even richer in instrumentation and design, revealing the quintet to be much more than orchestral rock.
What began as a minimalist trio (piano/violin/cello) has dashed in measured auxiliary electronic elements from the guitar’s shimmering down a sun-splashed surfy hook on the warming, brushy opener, “Loon,” to the buoyant, low-buzz synth adding some new-wave flare to the propulsive and soaring “Only You.” Even when electric instruments sneak in, the cello and violin still assure listeners that the soul still comes from their horsehair bows sawing across wooden bridges, (i.g. the rickety rhythmic purr of the cello under a snaky violin shimmy through “Hey Stars”). Even so, much of Perfect’s punch comes from the rollicking drums (the danceable chop of “It’s Simple”) as well as the high wispy vocals over the chiming piano, bridging a Chopin-ian romance to a glossier new-wave pop.
Indeed, it’s flush with nuanced elements, both electric-and-acoustic (the furtive, dazzling ballad“Why Should I?” perhaps attains the best balance), but it’s victory is balance in composition. There’s also, overall, more confidence in its stride; perhaps a bit more autumnal compared to Parade’s springy shades. Cellos and synthesizers can get along, after all, the Juliets proved it. See them on Saturday, November 5 at Woodruff’s in Ypsi.