Music Preview: ‘Legend of the Boar Knight’ by Careless Juja

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Art for the Legend of the Boar Knight by Jamie Kittens
Art for the Legend of the Boar Knight by Jamie Kittens

Video game cover duo Careless Juja has announced that it’s releasing its third full-length album, Legend of the Boar Knight, on March 7th. It’s a double album that tells a fun story rife with parodies of video game tropes accented with appropriate video game covers. Careless Juja comprises Juja, a self-taught and impressive guitarist, and Careless, the accordion player and frontman of Random Encounter, a phenomenal video game cover band that late last year toured Europe with Video Games Live. The story behind the album was written by Careless in collaboration with Peter Pepper, an adventure punk artist. This is a far departure from Pepper’s previous works. I was lucky enough to be given a digital preview copy of the album.

The album interchanges between spoken chapters that continue the story of Nathaniel, the Boar Knight, and instrumental video game covers. The chapter tracks showcase an omniscient narrator, voice acting, and full sound effects, as well as background music that also covers a variety of video game songs. A trademark of Careless Juja’s music that carries over into this album is the blending of music from popular culture in with the covers. The first chapter music, for example, showcases “Ahead on our Way” from Final Fantasy VI before slyly shifting into “Where No One Has Gone Before,” the theme music from Star Trek.

Normally, I’m not a fan of skits on an album. Usually they’re funny once but begin to wear on me after a while. However, the narrative on Legend of the Boar Knight carries with it an amusing innocence where the enjoyment doesn’t fade. The comedy is very deft in its use of parody, breaking the fourth wall, pop culture references, and the like without overdoing it. The music covered is very cleverly chosen to punctuate the story, bringing the listener back to the time they first heard the music.

As for the music itself, it’s some of the best yet to come from Careless Juja. The album showcases the talents of a handful of talented members of the video game-inspired music community such as remix rocker, Brandon Strader, flautist extraordinaire of The Returners, Lauren “The Flute” Liebowitz, and the hilarious voice talents of brentalfloss. The art on the album is by Jamie Kittens and is a wonderful tribute to children’s fantasy books. It further transports the listener back to a more innocent time.

Careless demonstrating the puppet stage to be used at the album release party.
Careless demonstrating the puppet stage to be used at the album release party.

If you’re in the Orlando area next weekend, Careless Juja is actually hosting a puppet show at its album release party at the Geek Easy, a popular venue for nerd music performances. The free all-ages show will also include a “squeaky clean” performance from Marc with a C. It sounds like the majority of the original voice actors and musicians are flying out for this show, so this is definitely an event to catch if you can.

Some Boar Knight statues being produced for the special album release puppet show.
Some Boar Knight statues being produced for the special album release puppet show.

Overall, it’s a wonderful album that I can’t recommend enough. It’s a fun listen that rides off an appropriate amount of nostalgia with the classic video game covers but also stands by itself with its original story that celebrates the games of old. You can hear a sample of the album and pre-order the album on their Bandcamp page.

How Safe Is It for Little Ears?

Incredibly safe. Aside from a little implied fantasy violence that isn’t even that worrisome, there’s nothing to be worried about with this album. Legend of the Boar Knight truly embraces the nostalgia of yesteryear’s video games in dialog that keeps it clean.

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