Album Review: The Juliana Hatfield Three – Whatever, My Love – Review by Killian Laher
After a gap of over 20 years, early 90s alt-goddess Juliana Hatfield has reunited with Todd Phillips and Dean Fisher as the Juliana Hatfield Three. It would be a stretch to suggest this is some sort of cash-in, it’s highly unlikely that an arena tour will ensue. However, when news broke of this many fans of perfectly distorted early 90s pop got more than a little excited.
The album opens with the lazy, summery strum Invisible which has a smooth, catchy charm, a sort of ‘alt’, goody-two-shoes rock. The fare here is a lot poppier than 1993’s Become What You Are, Now That I Have Found You would be splendid if the guitars were a little fuzzier, but here it’s pleasant but little more, and it’s fairly typical of the album. The strangely-titled If Only We Were Dogs works well, in the vein of REM’s late eighties material while If I Could is practically a summer song, full of yearning and a wonderfully lazy guitar solo.
There are one or two missteps, the stuttering tempo of Wood doesn’t really work and the lyrics for Ordinary Guy, I’m Shy and the busy Push Pin are a little hard to listen to coming from a woman in her forties (“oh I want an ordinary guy”, “if only we were dogs it would so easy to be happy”). Much better are the more relaxed, sparser tracks. I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands has the light charm of late period Lemonheads, and moody closer Parking Lots succeeds by virtue of being a departure from the rest of the album, giving the keyboards prominence with a rather muted vocal from Hatfield.
But overall the album could certainly have done with fuzzier guitars. Become What You Are originally worked because the heavy guitars balanced Juliana Hatfield s natural sweetness. This album is closer to her material of the last 10 years and unfortunately about as memorable. So they never quite became what they were then.
2. Now That I Have Found You
3. Ordinary Guy
4. If Only We Were Dogs
5. I’m Shy
6. Dog On A Chain
7. If I Could
8. Push Pin
9. Blame The Stylist
10.I Don’t Know What To Do With My Hands
If I Could: