JunoKind, the new and improved Wanderlust, launched at Jimmy’s Den

Changing your established band name and musical style is some Tom Cruise-level risky business – so what better venue could you ask for than a former gambling den? After four years under the name ‘Wanderlust’, local indie-soul duo Jade Richards and George Gunson launched their brand new musical project JunoKind on Friday night at Jimmy’s Den.

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The opener for the evening is Phocal, an electronic pop duo consisting of the very on trend male producer/female vocalist combination. With gorgeous melodies, powerful vocals and seriously high quality production, these locals are undoubtedly a band to watch out for. As their set ends there are over a hundred people scattered across the room, drinks in hand and smiles most definitely on faces.

JunoKind’s first ever live performance showcases Jade and George’s new musical style whilst still giving a nod to their former life as ‘Wanderlust’. As Jade introduces their first new song ‘Hiding Places’ it’s clear the duo have taken a step back from folk and roots music. Their new sound is a delicious mix of husky vocals, electric pop harmonies and rhythmic percussion that has everyone paying attention.

Multi-instrumentalist George switches seamlessly between guitar, keys and back-up vocals as he introduces an older song ‘Lightning Storm’ written during a family road trip. His harmonious vocals are a brilliant match for Jade’s deep, mature sound and the previously swaying crowd is soon dancing. Junokind quickly up the tempo and take us on an extended indie-rock jam complete with smoke machine and blue triangle lights spinning eerily across the ceiling.

Several songs later and George introduces JunoKind’s talented new line-up; Tony on drums, Michael on the bass and Bradley on the keys. The new group are well rehearsed, but George still keeps complete control of the rhythm on stage like an invisible conductor, or a slightly better-looking fat controller.

The second-last song of the night is the hip-swinging new single ‘Able’, a tune that explodes with dark percussion and pop production reminiscent of The XX. JunoKind have chosen this as their single for a reason – it truly showcases their new sound and has undoubtable mass appeal. They finish on high energy electric number ‘Necessary Space’, with almost the entire crowd on their feet. As George hits the last note on his acoustic guitar and Jade beams into the cheering crowd, I’m beginning to think their new direction was hardly a gamble at all.