Jukebox the Ghost is a power pop trio partial to quirky melodies, floridly expansive arrangements and elaborate, confessional-type narratives that sound like they're written by boys who like books. Their debut album, 2008's "Live and Let Ghosts," earned encouraging reviews and landed the band spots as touring support for Ben Folds and Jenny Owen Youngs.
Critically, 2010's "Everything Under the Sun" detoured from the buoyancy of Jukebox the Ghost's previous album with more earnest songwriting and darker subject matter, and while that may be true (particularly on tracks like "Schizophrenia," "Half Crazy" and "Mistletoe"), Ben Thornewill's rock piano still sounds jubilant and Tommy Siegel still sings like he wants to be Freddie Mercury.
This year's "Safe Travels," the band's third LP, is stylistically a combination of the previous two albums, while also featuring more electronic beats and sound manipulation as well as expanded instrumentals. There's mild melancholy on a few tracks, but this is tempered with the odd scattered falsetto and a surprisingly Springsteen-ish guitar turn on the optimistic "Ghosts in Empty Houses."
Jukebox the Ghost is a relatively young band but has already demonstrated an ability to learn, adapt and collaborate well.
All photos by Louis Kwok.