When Leeds band Jupiter Falls propelled themselves onto the scene they were a revelation for those that love blistering and bold melodic rock. Their debut album Revolution was so impressive that we named it the best debut of the year. So it begged the question 'where do they go from here?' - following up such a staggering musical inauguration was always going to be a hard task; but I'm ecstatic to say that Jupiter Falls have not only made a stronger album than the first, it's the best material they've written. Sure, if you listen close enough you can trace back to Iron Maiden, Guns N' Roses and Metallica, but Jupiter Falls have smoothed over the edges so that their sound honours the blood line rather than being overly defined by it.
At the heart of the second album are themes of love, loss, solitude, despair, grief; nothing new there, but it's the cathartic journey within these songs that make the album an absolutely compelling and moving listen. Faces In The Sand (Part One) is a complex album and a mature body of work that stands the band apart from many other of their peers. They have consolidated their sound, steering away from the building blocks of their influences to find their own voice, and the result is an epic conceptual album with exceptional honesty and gravitas.
The album first part of the album is filled with rage, venom and desperate fury. Welcome To My World is an invitation from our protagonist to come into this reckless and tempestuous domain. Nothing To Me is the obvious radio friendly, stomping rock track, and at first, it appears a little out of place until you give the album another listen and realise that the machismo and impetuous displays of bravado on the track (including faux sexy time noises) are masking a deeper pain. Illusion allows us to take a step inside the emotional chaos with a midway cri de coeur from James Hart “what is this I feel in me? Illusion or reality” unleashes a fury of tornado style guitars dragging our character down to the depths of personal Hell.
Call Me and Follow You offer a brief hand of hope and sees the band take on stadium-sized semi-acoustic ballads to make Aerosmith and Bon Jovi squeak with envy. Voices and the lead single, This Is A War We Cannot Win, bring things back to the violent passion that's on display throughout. The confidence and bravado that were displayed in earlier tracks slowly turn towards angst and despair as the tone shifts becoming blacker and bleaker. The band manage to produce a pretty defiant Herculean sound without any help, but the use of synths add a progressive feel to the album and help guide the fatalistic atmospherics, giving the tracks added depth, making them even more colossal.
The overshadowing darkness that permeates towards the final two tracks which are, in terms of scale and sound, like nothing the band has tackled before. See You On The Other Side and Faces In The Sand (Pt 1) are an emotional test of endurance for any hardened rock fan. If these songs don't astound and move you, then perhaps you should try listening to a Justin Bieber record.
At times the tracks are a devastatingly painful listen. The emotion that rips right through vocalist James Hart evidently cuts him to the core, this is matched by Deano Silk's agitating and ululating guitar work. Put back to back these songs make for a heart wrenching, traumatic, 15-minute musical ordeal – and it's magnificent. Don't expect any happy endings this time round; it can only be assumed that Part Two will have a more optimistic outlook for the protagonist of the story.
Faces In The Sand Part One is a terrifically honest piece of work and firmly cements Jupiter Falls as one of the boldest, fearless and impressive British bands on the scene. They have proved themselves to be worthy successors to the grand masters and they are quite simply the future of British rock music. With an album this strong, Jupiter Fall's face in the sand is going to be etched in the shoreline of rock for quite some time.
Groupie Rating 5/5