Straight out the gate, Jule Vera were hailed as, “a bold band with big songs and a bright future.” And with the release of their debut record, Friendly Enemies, the fresh-faced, Alabama-based brigade hawked their contagious brand of high-energy, guitar-driven power-pop/rock worldwide — an exhaustive 18-month promotional trek that took the troupe from the sweat-soaked U.S. Vans Warped Tour to international concert stages, performing with such distinguished colleagues as Don Broco, Never Shout Never, As It Is and Waterparks.
Clocking in at just a smidge over 30 minutes, Friendly Enemies was classified by many as an EP when it first arrived via Pure Noise, five years ago on June 30th. However, as an old-timer, still rolling on “Diamond” Dave-era “Van Halen Savings Time,” eight tracks (of any length) constitutes a full-length slab. And what a sweet slab it was.
“When I first heard Jule Vera, I knew that was
someone who I needed to help put in front of a larger
audience. I was very happy that they accepted.”
-Kevin Lyman (Founder, Vans Warped Tour)
Produced by former After Edmund frontman, Mitch Parks, Friendly Enemies oozed magical melodies glossing powerful poetry, combined with enough heavy hooks and riveting riffs to sink a mid-sized petroleum tanker. Appealing to my insatiable appetite for all things crunchy and punchy, snappy and happy, the record easily became my personal pick as THE best of 2015.
If the intoxicating presence and angelic voice of Ansley Newman, doesn’t consume you posthaste, you probably need to call an EMT, ‘cuz you might be flatlining. “Chemical Machine” was an alluring opener — a Fiona Apple-flavored delight in which Newman mesmerizes as she confesses seductively — This love is radioactive. So much so, it’ll keep us distracted. Feels like a chemical machine inside, burning for you and me.
“I caught Jule Vera on the Friendly Enemies tour.
A bold band with big songs and a bright future.”
-Riki Valentine (International touring vet)
“Light the Night” and “One Little String” are simply irresistible sing-alongs — infectious earworms with Buick-sized choruses. And mad props are owed to songwriting collaborators, Mitch Parks and Dustin Burnett for helping to make these two golden kernels pop to perfection, in a “jiffy.” Bravo!
Delicate and elegant, “Die Trying” and “Scarlet Letter” both are soaring, piano-driven epics. In the latter, Newman proclaims — Save your roses and all your sweet talk. Boy, you must think you’re so clever. But poisonous words give you away, like wearing a scarlet letter. Epic, indeed.
“The most pleasant people making the most pleasant music.”
(Guitarist, vocalist / The Fantastic Plastics)
Reinforced by Jake Roland’s walls of gutsy guitar work, the heart-stopping title track is heavy, a tad eerie, and proves that a band can have hooks, without compromising cred. A playfully urgent “Dear John” letter, “You Can’t Mess This Up” shines as one of the most compelling highlights and brings the record to a stunning crescendo.
While five years might not make for a milestone anniversary, it’s certainly been long enough to measure many of the record’s merits. Released via Sony subsidiary, Weekday Records in 2017, Jule Vera’s sophomore set, Waiting on the Sun, met with equal acclaim. Their recent slew of stand-alone singles — also well-received. And their third full-length effort currently is in production. However, Friendly Enemies continues to sparkle — a bold testament to the band’s big songs and bright future.
Friendly Enemies Track Listing:
1. 1896 (1:12)
2. Chemical Machine (3:34)
3. Light the Night (3:51)
4. One Little String (2:47)
5. Die Trying (3:56)
6. Scarlet Letter (3:15)
7. Friendly Enemies (4:01)
8. You Can’t Mess This Up (4:01)
Run Time: 30:27
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Record Label: Pure Noise Records