Record Label: Self Released
Release Date: April 17th, 2012
When you are approaching a band that are going by the name of Just Us and you discover that the album they are ushering out is going by the title of Basics, one can’t help but start to worry that the music within is going to be engrained with some sort of confidence crisis. Luckily though, Basics is not a statement about the quality of music available from this record nor is it about the abilities of its two band members; it is instead more of a statement about how the vocally complimentary duo approach their music in general. They established the basics of each song and they worked at it until perfection was achieved. This record just oozes of togetherness and subtlety.
Just Us are a singer/songwriter duo based out of New Jersey, with main singer Jenna Murphy taking the reins on the majority of the tracks only to be complimented by boyfriend Thomas Louis’ vocal harmonies and song writing. Each song sounds like we are getting a listen into a private, and distinctly emotional, get together and this is uniquely established from the albums prologue “Pretty, Petty Words” all the way to final track “Just Fine”. The opening prologue provides the soft vibe that is encapsulated on the whole record, with the topic of reliance and love remaining at both the song and albums heart. “The Insides” leads with guitar finger picking and a vocal restraint that is not easily achievable other than through extremely lengthy practice. The truly beautiful “I Always Get These Awful Thoughts” is quite reminiscent of “Baby” by Warpaint, but without the inherent jealously and more of the classical instrumentation.
Most of all, this album is a work which will fit into your acoustic collection; it contains music for appreciative musicians. As they suggest on the albums namesake song “Basics”: “It’s the basics, it’s the things that help you breathe. The things you truly desire and need”. The album itself very strictly follows this minimalistic narrative which the band has set itself, and perhaps too closely in places as if you zone out you may not realise just where exactly you have left off; what I suggesting here is that this leaves the listener in a position where the album must be intently listened to or alternatively utilised as an ambient background mood setter. This band has certainly perfected the art of the love song; they have created many elegantly crafted, spacious and delicate odes to Eros. So light some candles, put this record on, sit down with your loved one and before you know it...