Recorded and mixed by David Minehan, whom Justine calls her “north star of rock,” the songs on The Signal Light all tie seamlessly into the theme of struggling with what Justine calls the real stuff of life. As she says, “When I think about my life, I feel like the luckiest person in the world, even though I’ve been through some horrible things. Life can be brutal, ugly. And it can be astounding, full of miracles of resilience and hope.” To put it bluntly, the songs are about losing, failing, falling down, spinning out into depression and despair. And about finding strength and courage, getting back up and continuing the good fight, working hard to stay positive, create music and keep the band’s community of family and friends strong. While giving fans the spitfire powerpop/punk-ish songs they’ve come to expect, this album also includes new sonic colors like acoustic guitar, slide guitar, cello and piano.
The album’s packaging features original artwork by Stephen Fredette (guitarist with Scruffy the Cat), who talked with Justine about the song’s themes and then illustrated them in his iconic, woodcut style. Red on Red labelmate Steve Prygoda (Cold Expectations) then assembled the art pieces with photos by Joan Hathaway into a cover design that ties to the album’s theme of the contrast between the reality of dark despair and the promising light of insight.
The tracks on the album include “The Signal Light,” an ode to Boston’s history and the importance of seeing and responding to signs of hope; “Sweet Denial,” about wishing you could be as blind to the truth as your lover; “Vengeance,” about not being able to let go of a toxic relationship even when the only thing to hold onto is anger; “Drug Seeking Behavior,” which tackles the seductive and destructive power of addiction; and “Fourth Love,” about the loneliness of being a lower priority than booze in your lover’s hierarchy of needs.
The band celebrates its album release at Faces Brewing Co. in Malden, MA, Friday June 2 with Barrence Whitfield’s All- Star Band and Spiller.
In the mid-2010s, after far too many years away from the Boston scene Justine Covault rocked in the 90s with the popular all-female metal band Malachite, she ran into old pal and fellow guitarist Charles Hansen. Happily surprised to see her checking out live music again after doing the family thing and raising her daughter, he asked “What the heck are you doing out?” When she told him she wanted to start a new band, his immediate response was, “I’m in – as long as your songs aren’t s***!”
Justine and the Unclean’s second full-length album The Signal Light is the latest example of just how unsh***ty her music has been since those first hard rocking, super melodic song demos that blew Charles away. Once the guitarist – who’s brought his fiery lead guitar energy to Rock Bottom, Tom Baker & The Snakes, Gymnasium and The Handymen – was on board, the band came together in record time with guitarist-turned bassist Janet Egan King (Justine’s partner in crime from Malachite and Swank), and drummer Jim Janota (Rock Bottom, Upper Crust, The Bags). Since the release of their critically acclaimed 2017 debut album Get Unclean, they’ve cast an enduring spell throughout New England with an explosive, infectious blend of what Blurt Magazine called “rip-snortin’. . .glam punk/power pop/garage rock” that has earned comparisons to The Buzzcocks and Van Halen.
“I came up with the idea calling the band “Justine and the ‘something’” because of my years playing in bands with constantly shifting lineups, and I didn’t want to have to change names if that should happen,” says the singer/songwriter/guitarist, who launched the successful, collaborative and quickly growing indie label Red on RedRecords in November 2020. “So, I feel very lucky to still be playing with the same three people for all these years. It works because we have such a great time together and it’s always a party based on our undying love for rock and roll.
Whether we’re working on new material, recording together or playing onstage, it feels like an ongoing exchange of ideas and creative energy. The feeling when Jim, Janet, and Charles first add their parts to a new song is one of the best things in my life. They listen, understand, and take everything up a notch.”
SOURCE: Official Bio