Album Reviews

“Leave the Ground” by Jupiter: Reviewing a Somewhat Forgotten Shoegaze Gem

In the recently revived version of FensePost, I want to look back just as much as I look forward and look to the present. While this isn’t the typical path for music blogs, it allows us to unearth some powerful forgotten gems, like Leave the Ground by Jupiter.

You’ll be hard pressed to find out pretty much anything about Sydney, Australia based shoegaze band Jupiter. They were a short lived group during the original shoegaze era of the late-80s and early-90s, before most of us even knew something called The Internet existed.

I’ve at least been able to dig up the following: The band included three members, Alison Galloway on drums, Simon McLean on bass guitar and vocals, and Chris Stephens playing multi-instrumentalist with guitars, samples and keyboards.

Jupiter only really released music between 1991 and 1992, including a pair of singles and EPs. And somehow, the band’s 7-inch single for “Leave the Ground” on Australia’s Summershine Records found its way into my collection.

Jupiter Leave the Ground Single Shoegaze

“Leave the Ground” is your standard early shoegaze track. Like those from more well known artists in the subgenre–Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine, etc.–Jupiter created a wall of sound full of swirling, echoing guitars. Vocals are nondescript but melodic. Even the percussion seems to be filtered through reverb.

It drives forward, hard. Galloway’s percussion pushes the beat while Stephens’ guitar morphs it into that sonic drone signature to early shoegaze. The elongated vocals lent by McLean cement that sound to the era.

The back side, “T”, begins soft. In fact, you almost have to crank it up to hear anything. This void finds a welcome home in the song, Stephens’ guitars carrying a light reverb. But be ready to dial it back: 90 seconds in, you’re hit by a truckload of fuzzed-out distortion. The sound is huge.

Once things are moving, “T” paints a mellow, dreamy picturescape, despite the near overwhelming sound.

In Leave the Ground, Jupiter embodied many of the qualities I find so appealing about early 90s shoegaze. This single is why I love that original era. While the songs are so monumentally huge, they also present something subtle and delicate. This juxtaposition is what makes a band like Jupiter stand out, and why I dub this single somewhat of a forgotten gem.

Discogs led me to a very rudimentary webpage for Jupiter that looks like it was built sometime in the 1990s. From this page, you can check out a wider variety of the band’s music including both tracks off Leave The Ground b/w T.

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