In an English country pub, overlooking a Sunday afternoon cricket match on the green, the Junipers are enjoying a pint and a chat. They’re debating the mono versus stereo version of the Zombies’ Odessey and Oracle; the recent Brian Wilson tour; if it’s possible to buy a replica of Paul McCartney’s Fairisle tank top from the Magical Mystery Tour; whether Gideon Gaye by the High Llamas was the best album of the 90s; an approval of 10CC on the cover of Shindig magazine; but most of all they’re analysing the new instrumental stereo mix of ‘I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times’ from the new 5-disc Beach Boys boxset and how to achieve the clippity-clopping sound that comes after 21 seconds.
Such studiousness serves Leicester’s Junipers well as their new album is every bit as a sumptuous as the pop music they so preciously covert. The opening paragraph may or may not be true but listen to Red Bouquet Fair and then call me a liar. It gently pirouettes, it floats, it glides, it dances. It’s graceful and elegant. It’s meticulously sung, played and arranged without one second feeling forced or overly fussy. In a word, it’s beautiful.
It plays like a true album too, to always be listened in one complete sitting. It’s not a record to pick a couple of catchy hit singles (if there still was such a thing) but to absorb the whole thing; for that reason this review contains no individual track titles. Buy it, start at the beginning, and enjoy the sheer loving craftsmanship and intricate detail on display. It’s spring, it’s summer, it’s bees, it’s honey, it’s a lazy afternoon, it’s proud of its heritage, it’s the days disappearing over the hills, it’s Red Bouquet Fair. Roll up.
Red Bouquet Fair by the Junipers is out now. Available here.