Ghosts of Jupiter Prove Pastoral Prog Victors Via ‘Keepers of the Newborn Green’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Ghosts of Jupiters’ third LP Keepers of the Newborn Green explores the Boston area band’s song growth from the organ and guitar-based space rock to British pastoral prog. Where the guitar rock/organ-oriented shades of Traffic and Jeff Beck Group showed in the band’s earlier work, Ghosts of Jupiter have progressed into a storybook setting where medieval imagery dominate as the flourishing sounds of Wishbone Ash merge with the Peter Gabriel era Genesis. And while there are no indulgent 23-minute “Supper’s Ready” types on Keepers, there is plenty of glorified instrumental sections to make any prog fan take notice.

The band is led by singer/composer and multi-instrumentalist Nate Wilson (Percy Hill, Assembly of Dust) who is a master keyboardist, but on this ensemble, Wilson brings emotive vocals atop an airy and the flute plays as much a role as his keys.

As described by Wilson –thematically the album reflects some of the unavoidable political upheavals of the past few years, in particular, the 2nd track “Villians” juxtaposes earthy medieval folk sounds with a critique of the toxic segmented realities created by modern media. Other songs on the album, in particular “Imperium Waves,” and “On Bending Tides,” reflect the emotionally cathartic side effects that were born of the interruptions of our daily lives caused by the events of 2020.  “Sea of Madness” examines the influence of conspiracy theories, misinformation and anti-science sentiment that has made its way to the forefront of modern culture in recent years. 

While Wilson provides silvery vocals, the brooding song-oriented tracks “The Undertaking” and “Villians” shine with direct classic rock reference points: the latter having a Jethro Tull thematic tug and pull that is purely cinematic. The winners here are the instrumental sections that create instrumental battles sections that jive with otherworldly psychedelia as in the opening riffs to the fantastical “Sea of Madness”. This scorcher dives into the lush underworld of “BattleKat” that floats with narrative keyboards that ruminate with the genius of Tony Banks.  The middle to back of Keepers rallies with the triumphant melancholy psych-folk of “Imperium Waves” that jumps into the murderous instrumental “Gustav,” propelling with razor-sharp flute and guitar riffs.

Ghosts of Jupiter prove their prog worth on Keepers of the Newborn Green and deserve to be considered in the diverse prog scene that welcomes bands on the prestigious Cruise to the Edge. But as these musicians prove, they can jump course and play some damn tight space rock whenever the mood arises.

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