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Juniper Douglas - "3221" | Premiere

One of my favorite things about Juniper Douglas is that they've never made the same song twice, even across their relatively short recorded discography. A lot of bands double dip their musical chip into the songwriting ranch and come away with two stellar songs, but JD are restless in their pursuit of each insane idea.

One gets a sense of this just by listening to the group's album, Error to Introspection (happy first birthday!). Tracks bleed into each other before immediately heading off into the opposite direction. It's a total mind-melt of a record. There's an even greater thematic disparity in the band's live show (which we've had the privilege of seeing three times thus far). When one considers that the first show was some sort of collective, anarchic, experimental theatre piece and the second is a two-person concept show about AI and what it means to be born (kind of?) with heavy electronic elements, it seems almost impossible that they're produced by the same creative minds.

Today, they're back with their latest left-turn. In a way, it's their most drastic yet. New single "3221" is a short, solo acoustic number from Zeke Erickson. It's like those pictures where a cat gets shaved except for the head, albeit in the best way possible. After the exorbitant maximalism of everything prior, it's surprising to hear a contemplative ballad with virtually nothing that could be called a flourish. Of course, there are some subtle effects (vocal echo, a low rumble), but I didn't even notice them on first listen. It is impossible not to be transfixed by the transparent falsetto. A plaintive melody swirls together with each plucked note. The mélange of sounds starts to crack and waver, yet remains contained. However, at its heart, "3221" is a condensed dose of one of JD's best (and somewhat underrated) elements - Erickson's voice. Stream the song below.


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