As we move further into the 2010s, many bands seem to be dropping the “indie” from their indie pop moniker in favor of the straight-forward melodies and smooth production that dominate the Top 40 airwaves. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing. For every Imagine Dragons that trades in their quality for popularity, there is a group that effortlessly thrives on sweet, melodic pop music.
Take DC threesome Jukebox the Ghost for instance. Buoyed by frontman Ben Thornewill’s powerful, crooning voice and melodious piano hooks, they prove that pop music can still house some integrity if you look hard enough. Since 2008, they’ve churned out three albums of upbeat melodies that play like an alternate take on Jack’s Mannequin, but with more sunshine and rainbows thrown in for good measure. The group has made a name for themselves touring for Jack’s a couple years ago (interestingly enough) and are posed to release their fourth outing later this summer. Luckily for us, they’ve already given us a taste of what’s to come:
While they haven’t released many details on their forthcoming album yet, “The Great Unknown” promises yet another venture into Thrornewill’s smile-inducing, foot-tapping melodic stylings. More anthemic than any Jukebox release to date, “The Great Unknown” is full of thundering drums and an invigorating piano hook that all but demand you to get up and dance. Employing his trademark serenade, Thornewill belts out a coming of age story perfect for the graduating masses as they move into the world. The lyrics are moving, captivating and inspiring, made more so by a melody that reflects the urgency in his voice. “So let go / You’re on your own / There’s something waiting for you.” It’s a consummate, almost religious experience as the band implores the listener to get up and take a chance. What more could you ask for from a brisk and moving piece of piano pop?
While Jukebox the Ghost are approaching their 11th year of existence with numerous great successes, they’ve mostly lived under the radar so far. With the imminent release of their upcoming album, an ongoing tour with A Great Big World, and the promise of “The Great Unknown,” that may not be true for much longer. Pop music demands a bit of a shake-up and Jukebox the Ghost may be just the band to restore your faith in it. Take this as an opportunity to say you hear of them first.