To Be Juliet’s Secret – Laced With Fear
Record Label: None
Release Date: February 1, 2013
I’m a sucker for some good old female fronted pop tunes. Whether it’s He Is We or Taylor Swift, I’m listening. Even better is the inclusion of a male vocalist mixed in, which works wonders for The Morning Of and We Are The In Crowd. Well, the newest addition to my list is To Be Juliet’s Secret, a young group from Michigan.
After a handful of EPs and a Story of the Year cover song, To Be Juliet’s Secret’s debut record, Laced With Fear, is finally here. Well, it’s infectious, easy going, and light-hearted – just how pop music should be. The group has a knack for melody placement and when to kick songs into gear. Take the opening “The Nothing I Sing About” for the first example. What starts as a delicate piano number quickly escalades into an upbeat pop tune. Simply two seconds from Jeremy Bulchak on the drums signals the switch, as it’s literally instantaneous. Such moments so early on in the record give a quick taste of the band’s taste for sudden tempo changes.
Siblings Danielle and Michael Quinn share vocal duties throughout the record. Demonstrating this, the reverberating synth and echoing guitar on “Too Tired To Fall In Love” dances around the delicate “whoa-ohs” of Danielle, before Michael’s voice surfaces for the first time. The synth-laden jam is a 180 from the opener, showing again that To Be Juliet’s Secret have a few tricks up their sleeve. Drawing on further influences, the spur-of-the-moment, toe-tapping “Darling, Come Back To Me” resembles the inviting nature of Colbie Caillat, with Danielle keeping pace with the dizzy piano keys and guitar slurs.
Clearly Miss Quinn can hold her ground on the bubbly numbers; however, she can also propel softer cuts. Title track “Laced With Fear” is subtlety sweet, as the tranquil drums and alluring guitar lines weave around Danielle and Michael’s vocal play offs, echoing the chemistry between the two. As the siblings trade off center mic, a submissive guitar line weaves the parts together, giving the separated vocal pieces unison. The final “The Rose” works similarly, with just a mellow acoustic guitar highlighting Danielle’s soft singing of “Baby, I thought I told you / You’ve got to be a solider.” It’s stripped-down and intricate, casting all ears on her.
With this record, the songs just get stuck in your head and the vocals are so compelling you just can’t help but tap your foot along, not unlike the first time I heard He Is We’s My Forever. The prime example of this is “Aggregated Separation,” where sudden drums lead into the instantly noticeable chorus, allowing the vocals to take the spotlight. The drum lead in makes sure you’re listening, and you will be. For only a debut album, Laced With Fear has placed To Be Juliet’s Secret at the top of my radar for the rest of the year. Defying their namesake, this band won’t be a secret for long.