Juvies (the)

The Juvies – Playin’ Hookie

Rage Records Rage LP 106 [1990]
Blackboard Jungle Alligator Shoes No Way Out Breakin’ It Up Gotta Run Playin’ Hookie Jukebox Jill Sunset This Morning On The Road Into The Fire

The Juvies, from Yorkshire, formed around 1984 with Darren Juvie, aka Darren Pawson (vocals and guitar), Mitch (drums), and Gary Brooks (double bass). Like Fractured, with whom they share more than one thing in common, The Juvies released only one too-short album in 1990 before disappearing two years later.

That a band of this quality leaves only these ten songs as a testament to their talent, while groups like the Rockats (the Dutch Psychobilly group) managed to release three albums definitively proves the non-existence of any Rock’n’Roll gods (sorry, guys, nothing personal).

The album starts with a strong punch in Blackboard Jungle, a track that bridges the virtuosity of Restless and the edginess of Batmobile. The next piece continues in a similar vein, with a pulsating rhythm and a double bass line reminiscent of Rumble In Brighton, leading to a clear and precise guitar explosion.

No Way Out has a strong rhythm and a disturbing atmosphere, characterized by haunting guitar riffs and intense vocals, which deviates a bit from the usual genre standards. Jukebox Jill is a brilliant demonstration of Neo-Rockabilly at its best, with its upbeat rhythm, galloping guitar, and nervous vocals. The Juvies take the melody from Got My Mojo Working and transform it into Sunset In the Morning. This is not a mere copy but a brilliant adaptation, as the trio changes the lyrics and creates a new genre that could be defined as Neo-Rockabilly-Blues.

On the Road combines a welcome country touch with high-end neo-rockabilly. Breakin’ It Up features a mix of neo-rockabilly, dancing rock ‘n’ roll, and doo-wop harmonies. This diverse blend is also evident in Playin’ Hookie, with an unexpected guitar solo reminiscent of the best Nitros songs. The band’s ability to transition between different musical atmospheres is highlighted in Gotta Run, a powerful rock song with a distorted guitar. The album concludes with the wild Into The Fire, demonstrating the band’s comfort in exploring diverse musical styles.

The album is produced by Darren Pawson, the band’s singer-guitarist, and Roger Tebutt (Happy Drivers, Long Tall Texans). They find the perfect balance between instruments and how to highlight each tunes. We mainly notice the care taken with the guitars’ sounds and textures, which gives a varied and constantly surprising album. In short, this far-too-short album is a success from start to finish.

Fred “Virgil” Turgis

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