Falk's point-blank vocals are augmented by his braying guitar licks on "When They Dig Us Up," Some Kind of Family's first song. Drummer Jordon Ottenson pulverises his kit throughout the song's speedy chorus, giving it a punk rock bruising that few indie troops could withstand. "Everything Will Change" has an equally brisk tempo, with Ottenson delivering a shuffling beat and Falk offering a plaintive chorus that seems vulnerable and raw enough to fray his vocal chords. On midway track "The Brothers," his singing is far more melodious, complementing minimalistic instrumentation that slowly builds tension until the final minute, when Adam Fuhr's synths sizzle like live wires. Fuhr is also the star of "Bro Sis," which opens with a dazzlingly upbeat synth line that perfectly suits Falk's reverb drenched vocals and opaque, dreamy lyrics about holding "the reins of 100 horses."
On those tracks, Les Jupes sound wholly original, but the band is still thrilling while paying tribute to its influences, too. "On Miracles" features a more traditional piano line from Fuhr that wouldn't sound out of place on one of the National's recent albums, and his midway trembling synth riff would fit well on a B-side by the Antlers. Falk enunciates every lyric like a thespian on the song, making it one of his best vocal turns on the entire LP. He sounds even more theatrical on the earlier track "One Is Enough," singing in a booming voice akin to Nick Cave.
During those moments, it's clear that Les Jupes are part of storied indie rock lineage, one that they have studied intently and are unafraid to push further.
I’m very sad to announce that Les Jupes are done.
We’ve been a pretty dysfunctional band. We’ve been 3 completely different lineups in 4 years. We’ve battled entitlement, laziness, egos, self-righteousness and willful ignorance. There are some stories that would make you just shake your head, others that would break your heart. We would get 4 people onto the same page for a couple of months before someone else would leave and the whole thing would have to be re-jigged again. It became exhausting. Even ridiculous. A parody of what this was supposed to become. And definitely a pretty impossible way to build momentum or capitalize on what few opportunities we did have come our way.
Many friends and industry people have told me I should just hire a backing band and tour the songs. But it just doesn’t feel right. That’s not what this was ever supposed to be about, and I’m not interested in touring a show that doesn’t feel interesting. This was supposed to be four people on a mission, doing something special together. And after too many failed attempts at that, perhaps its just time to lay it to bed.
A whole lot of care and thought and passion and time and money went into this record. It was supposed to be the album that got us through the glass ceiling we kept hitting. But it unfortunately turned out to be the record that sadly fulfilled its own name.
Not sure we were ever a great band, but I think we had gotten pretty good – to a place where I felt confident we finally had the balance of skills and tools to make a go of it and maybe even become great. I think the best compliment we ever got was: “Wow, you guys are like a real band.” I never wanted to be the coolest band. Never wanted to be a part of a fad. I just want to make art that connects with something inside those making it and anyone who might listen to it. To write songs that might have an outside shot at still meaning something to someone a few years down the line.
I’m not sure what I’m going to do next. I’ve been mulling on all kinds of things – some of which are radical life changes, some of which are gentle left turns. Some days I want nothing to do with music, others I can’t imagine myself without it. It’s hard not to be terribly angry at a couple people. My increasing self-isolation and introversion combined with exhaustion from the past few years makes this a difficult process. I’ve never grieved a dream before. So I’m gonna just take the time I need to figure it out. In the meantime, I’ve got my studio and will continue writing songs and working with other artists.
I’d like to thank three people who have gone above and beyond to support this band. Frank Ehrmann has championed us in Germany and deserves so much more from this record that he was so excited about. Darcy Penner came in swinging as the most trustworthy, hard-working bandmate I ever had. And my wife, Robin. Even though I often put the band before her, she has been so unbelievably supportive. She put up with a lot of late night fretting sessions, even incurred debt on behalf the band, and is a treasure of a human being.
I really hope you enjoy this album. I was so hopeful for these songs.
Michael Petkau Falk
The opener “When They Did Us Up” capture the energy that is present throughout the album but it also does something else, it indirectly questions the longetivity of the band. “What will think? Once they dig us up?” the chorus asks. It’s strange because the album was tossed around by the band and described as the “rebirth” but it’s also the band’s death now too. he lead single “Everything Will Change” could be a bittersweet anthem for the band’s departure.
This time around the band employs more synths for the occasional upbeat dance feel (“Something’s Happening”). Slow-burners like “What Am I Doing Here” and “The Brothers” test Falk’s future potential as a solo artist without his band. The album varies stylistically, going from stylistically dark “Outer School” to the gentle acoustic nature of “I Want Answers” and synth-splash mid “On Miracles”.