Justin 3: “Illusion” – a flare for big, catchy hooks

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Justin 3 is a pop-rock band from Lithuania formed by Justinas Stanislovaitis (vocals, guitar), known for numerous performances on National TV and being an actor in the international musical production “Rent”, directed by Georg Malvius and Derek Barnes. Justin 3 which also consist of Mantas (Drums) and Povilas (Bass guitar), has been active for more than 6 years under the name “Alive Way” and released five digital albums. Their songs are aired on almost all national and some international radio stations. They have done numerous TV performances and have played at the biggest Lithuanian musical festivals. Justin 3 has now released their 6 track EP entitled “Illusion”.

The EP feels like a welcome return from an old friend who has kept all of the qualities that made you like him in the first place, but picked up some new tricks to keep things from getting stale. Justin 3’s strength is their strong grasp of the basic pop dynamic where catchy choruses are bookended by verses that propel a story and mood.

One of the hallmarks of Justin 3 is Justinas’ voice and the durability of its application. His twang-tinged raspiness has a vibrato that shakes not only the delivery of his words, but their impact. Would the same words from a smoother crooner deliver the same messages? Probably, but the beauty of Justinas’ voice is that he has such control over his instrument that it weaves, shakes, and wobbles in just the right places with a soft, sandpapery grit and soul that can only come from within.

It would be hard to imagine the band under anyone else’s leadership or vocal tenacity because it would change the actual soul of the music. Whereas some bands can get away with replacing front-men like batteries in a controller, Justin 3’s allure is created by the chemistry of Justinas, Mantas and Povilas on this EP.

The messages on the recording and its impact are timeless. There is nothing on this EP that cannot transport you back to a different time and tap into those ’90s feels you thought were long repressed. It is an uneasy, yet comforting familiarity that reminds listeners of when they discovered that sometimes music could speak for them.

So, do not be afraid to dig deep, dust off those old Doc Martens and distressed denim, lean back in a favorite chair, and allow Justin 3 to push you all around the clock. Opening with the acoustic powered title track “Illusion” this recording has many cutting edge moments.

The music is lush and layered, and sounds a whole lot more than just 3 guys. “She’s a Secret” forges rock guitars and a wall of strings, as well an ever evolving arrangement with progressive transitions.

“Survivor” is on one the EP’s highest points. Featuring a driving beat and grungy guitars, this track wraps itself perfectly around Justinas’ sandpaper vocal delivery and soaring choruses. “Young Blood” is even heavier and uncovers the raw guitar power of this band as well as the grittiness of the vocals.

“Streets of Vilnius” reaches another extremely high musical peak, and is probably the most radio-ready track on the EP. Sprawling acoustic guitars, shimmering pianos and that hard-to-resist vocal urgency pushes this track right into the spotlight.

Justin 3 knows how to write a monster hook with enough heft to get a whole arena to sing along. Which is why “Illusion” is such a perfect EP for them– the bulk of the record is comprised of big blockbuster sounding potential hits, which means that it allows you to enjoy the band’s greatest strengths and their flare for big, catchy hooks.

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