Jukebox the Ghosts gets you dancing “under the sun”

Jukebox the Ghosts gets you dancing under the sun

Lauren Effertz, Staff Writer

Jukebox the Ghost recently released their second album, “Everything Under the Sun,” the follow-up to this Philadelphia-based three-piece’s 2008 release “Let Live the Let Ghosts.” The band––pianist/vocalist Ben Thornewill, guitarist/vocalist Tommy Siegel, and drummer Jesse Kristin––has been touring extensively for years with artists like Ben Folds and The Moldy Peaches and is currently opening for Jack’s Mannequin on their winter tour.

“Everything Under the Sun” features an even split of vocals between Siegel and Thornewill. Both contributed their songwriting skills to the album and co-wrote and shared lead vocals for the first time on “Carrying.”

“Everything” is a much more danceable album than “Let Live,” a goal the band set after realizing any “dancey” songs they had on “Let Live” were sped up to point of being near-manic. But “slow” for JTG is relative; their music has as much energy and vitality as ever.

One of the most pounding songs on the record is “Schizophrenia” (yes, it falls into the above-mentioned “near-manic” category). Thornewill hits the keys at a dizzying pace and his vocals accurately portray the disorientation of someone losing their mental grasp in the most fun way possible.

Mental instability would seem to be a theme on the record, with “Schizophrenia” followed-up with the Siegel-voiced track “Half Crazy,” which details the spiral into self-absorption and paranoia a girl falls into after a break-up.

Moving away from insanity, the album’s first single, “Empire,” showcases Thornewill’s fluid vocals and dexterous playing. The song’s beautifully crafted lyrics detail the challenge faced when trying to stay balanced while falling in love, saying simply “my heart is my keep / and you are threatenin’ me.”

Playful and sunny, “The Popular Thing” features the plays on words that JTG is known for. The melody has the jazzy feel of music tragically left behind in decades past. The song plays with many meanings of the words “everybody’s doing it” to tell a cautionary tale of going along with the crowd.

“Everything Under the Sun” also features a three-song story arc in “The Sun,” “The Sun (Interlude),” and “The Stars,” all written and sung by Siegel. “The Stars” was a recording challenge, as Siegel had begun to experience vocal pain in the range the song rests in; the pain later required vocal surgery. The song begs the question: “What if we were created to gaze at the stars up above?”

Jukebox the Ghost is one of many hidden gems of the music world and “Everything Under the Sun” is poised to shed some light on one of the best indie piano rock groups on the scene today.