Juno A Future Lived in Past Tense

Juno is what Radiohead wishes they could be. Maybe it's that the Seattle-ites understand the subtleties of Wish You Were-era Pink Floyd better than their English counterparts; maybe it's the full-throttle triple-axe attack (Skynyrd! Skynyrd!); or maybe it's just that Juno are better musicians, songwriters and soundscape architects than Radiohead. Whatever the reason, though, Juno's sophomore disc is a marvel. It's a 70-minute musical journey down a long, winding and treacherous road that's fraught with all kinds of course altering potholes and unexpected twists and turns. It's the kind of record that lulls you into a sense of complacency before cold-cocking you upside the head with an unexpected blast of rock bombast. This is spaced-out, epic rock with a contemporary twist. I defy anyone to listen to ten-minute opus "The French Letter," or the equally ethereal "We Slept in Rented Rooms (The Old School Bush)," and tell me these guys haven't done a few bong hits while listening to "Shine on You Crazy Diamond." The spirit of Syd Barrett lives on, if not in Pink Floyd, certainly in Juno. (DeSoto)