Album Review: JJ Roots - Euphoria
By Stevie Connor.
The pandemic has certainly got in the way of almost every musician's momentum over the last two years, take for instance JJ Roots, they had launched their 'Boxcar & Memoirs' tour in support of their EP, and had started gaining a lot of airplay at home and internationally, but, that all had to be put on hold, in the midst of the uncertainty they launched singles from their 'Trillium House Studio Sessions' working with renowned award-winning engineer and producer Paul Milner.
As the Nova Scotia based duo once again emerge from that long tunnel of uncertainty back onto the stage, they have proved that they have not been idling by the side of the track. They have kept the winning combination going for their brand new studio album, 'Euphoria', and once again have teamed up with Paul Milner.
I have been following JJ Roots (Jocelyn Parlee and Jeff Scott Gray) for a couple of years now and am always impressed with each release, and Euphoria is no different, it's not what I expected at all, but, that's a great thing, as it has shown me that they have great diversity in their writing and recording, they are definitely not an act you could pigeon hole. It has shown a completely different side to this talented duo that I had never encountered before.
The tracks on the album are mostly piano and vocally driven, with a broad sonic sound behind them, Euphoria is very atmospheric from the first track 'Over and Over', to the beautifully arranged 'Moon's Shadow' to finish. The JJ Roots sound is much fuller, with additional backing vocals added complimenting the wonderful arrangements, and of course, Jocelyn Parlee's emotionally charged vocals.
There is a message that can be taken from every song, a vulnerability at times in the verses, with positive hooky lyrics in the chorus's, as in 'Up's and Downs', 'Hold On' and 'Change'. I can imagine Euphoria as a concept album, there is definitely a theme running through the release, each song blending as if it was a full production theatre-like show, they have presented each song in a very visual and vivid way, the instrumentation and arrangements being perfect for the tracks contained within.
JJ Roots have said of the album, "As the world awakens, JJ Roots celebrates the re-emergence with a broad palette and writing that is diverse and contemporary, in this sonic collection of songs that carefully invite the listener along the journey through Euphoria"
Combining the diverse talents and backgrounds of Jocelyn Parlee and Jeff Scott Gray, the JJ Roots sound can rarely be categorized, and that is what makes them so compelling, this is a beautiful reflective and uplifting release, having taken me on an unexpected but delightful journey of Euphoria ! Bravo !!
JJ Roots Perform Highway Honey Live At The Cornerstone, St John, New Brunswick.