The Juliana Hatfield Three - Whatever, My Love

by D R Pautsch Rating:8 Release Date:2015-02-18

Twenty-two years is a long time. In 1993, there was no Euro, the Twin Towers were attacked as a precursor of events to come, and Monica Lewinsky was yet to even enter the White House, let alone bring a president to his knees. It was, in short, a simpler time. 

Music, however, was becoming increasingly fractured, with grunge and alt-rock examples of how the increasing classification of music was growing.One album that was on 'best of' lists that year was Come on Feel the Lemonheads. Some magazines even declared it album of the year. It dragged alt-rock back into almost MOR territory. 

Evan Dando was ably supported by musician and singer-songwriter Juliana Hatfield Her own album, released that year, under the guise of The Juliana Hatfield Three, was overshadowed somewhat by The Lemonheads. However, it promised much and delivered more. That Hatfield has taken 22 years to follow it up is perhaps a sign of how she has moved from one project to another in the intervening years. 

However, this feels like resurgence in many ways. Bringing back the old crew and making it sound like nothing has changed is no small trick and yet Hatfield accomplishes it with aplomb.

The voice sounds the same and, while it might cover old ground, it delivers a performance that is memorable alongside tracks that are catchy. The best tracks are when Hatfield decides to use the guitar with a bit more venom. 'Push Pin' is a highlight with its guitar sounding more pressing and its lyric a little more angry. 

'Blame It on the Stylist' allows Hatfield to remind you that she is a guitarist (not a bassist –those years are behind her) keen on allowing the instrument to harmonise with her own voice. The semi-acoustic closing number, 'Parking Lots', is a number that almost sounds like Nada Surf. The influence of Matthew Caws, with whom Hatfield formed Minor Alps, is evident throughout.  

As ever, the lyrical content is not the happiest. On 'Ordinary Guy', Hatfield bemoans a feckless boyfriend and declares that she wants "no more crying". She sounds like she did 22 years ago, but perhaps with a few bruises and experiences to darken songs like ‘If We Were Dogs’. 

Of course much of this review has centred on Hatfield, but she seems to shine now that she has been reunited with her two compatriots. Phillips on drums has been around for a lot of the intervening period and the tightness of the trio is a strength here. Hatfield revels in it.

What could have been a tired rehash of past glories is actually quite the opposite. There are memorable moments and songs that last beyond their final note in your memory. When record this loops round on repeat, you are glad that it’s back again. 

Which brings us back to where we came in. 2015 is not a simple time. This is funded by crowdsourcing, something that can only exist in these times. However, those who funded this will feel well rewarded and so will anyone else who wants to remember simple music done well.

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