Stefan Pelzl´s JUJU is one of Austria’s most constant and creative Jazz ensembles. Shortly after its foundation in 1988, the group won the “2nd Lower Austria Jazz Contest”. In these early days, JUJU was influenced by John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter and Yusef Lateef, but - once out of these footprints- was very soon able to create a very original style in composing and performing as well. Four albums were recorded and prove for an outstanding musical development. Virtually retaining the same core of the group, numerous top-musicians could be engaged for specific projects, including Leo Wright, Idris Muhammad, Ingrid Jensen, Lorenz Raab, Franz Hautzinger, Thomas Gansch and others. The group plays only original compositions, mainly by the leader.
One of the band's masterworks, Juju sees Siouxsie and the Banshees operating in a squalid wall of sound dominated by tribal drums, swirling and piercing guitars, and Siouxsie Sioux's fractured art-attack vocals. If not for John McGeoch's marvelous high-pitched guitars, here as reminiscent of Joy Division as his own work in Magazine, the album would rank as the band's most gothic release. Siouxsie and company took things to an entirely new level of darkness on Juju, with the singer taking delight in sinister wordplay on the disturbing "Head Cut," creeping out listeners in the somewhat tongue-in-cheek "Halloween," and inspiring her bandmates to push their rhythmic witches brew to poisonous levels of toxicity.
…What really shines on JuJu is the songwriting. From the African-influenced title track (with its short, hypnotic, repetitive phrases) to the mesmerizing interplay between Tyner and Shorter on "Mahjong," the album (which is all originals) blooms with ideas, pulling in a world of influences and releasing them again as a series of stunning, complete visions.