Review by Shannon Shumaker
Jule Vera is destined to be the breakout band this year at The Vans Warped Tour. Don’t believe me? Just give their new EP, Friendly Enemies a listen. Opening up with a minute long haunting track, Jule Vera know just how to build anticipation and entrance their listener before “Chemical Machine” comes in and completely blows you away.
With very disciplined vocals that also still manage to sound like honey on this catchy opening track, it’s hard to believe that frontwoman Ansley Newman is barely eighteen. It seems that Jule Vera are following in the footsteps of Warped veterans and young female-fronted band Echosmith, and comparing the two definitely isn’t a bad thing. There’s a sense of youthfulness in many of these songs, especially the single “One Little String,” that is poppy and easy to listen to, but also a serious darkness in “Chemical Machine,” or “Die Trying,” which comes later in the EP.
Friendly Enemies is upbeat and lighthearted, but still with plenty of soul, and the proof of that comes in the soon to be hit track “One Little String.” It’s impossible not to fall in love with the catchy, poppy chorus. I feel like this is a song that virtually anyone can like, and again, it’s carried by a youthful lightheartedness that is very easy to listen to.
As I said, though, Jule Vera aren’t one dimensional. Following the poppy and lighthearted “One Little String” is “Die Trying,” which shows a completely different side of the band, both musically and lyrically. While “Die Trying” is undeniably catchy, the lyrical content is much more serious and heavy than many of the other songs on the EP. The same can be said for “Scarlet Letter.”
The EP’s title track changes the mood once again with a darker sound, carried heavily by bass and haunting vocals. Production-wise, this song is huge and explosive, differing quite a bit from the rest of the album, showing yet another side of this band.
Only eight songs in length, Friendly Enemies is like a Jule Vera taste test. Starting off and ending the album with rather upbeat, lighthearted and poppy tracks, it’s easy to feel that you have this group figured out before they come in with darker, more serious songs and change things up. Jule Vera’s new EP is multidimensional, fun to listen to, and makes me even more excited to see them for the first time this year at Warped Tour.
Listen to "Chemical Machine" or "One Litte String"