Even though brother/sister performance pair Brandon and Brittany Hargest will always be remembered for their time in teen pop group Jump5, the group’s recent farewell tour officially closed that chapter of their lives and opened the door for new artistic pursuits.

These days, the co-singers/songwriters formed a brand-new group called Guest, who just dropped its Perfect EP wrapping together an astute influence pool that’s clearly graduated from the duo’s Radio Disney days.

“It’s hard to describe other than the fact that it’s very different than Jump5,” offers Brittany Hargest from her Nashville home with a laugh. “A lot of the elements are very alternative, plus there’s a lot of pop/rock with bits of piano that’s very Coldplay-esque. I enjoy listening to a lot of indie rock—like Until June, Annuals and The Format—and we both love Elton John and Ben Folds.”

Indeed, those references are apparent throughout Perfect, as are Brandon and Brittany’s increasingly mature voices and instrumental abilities. But aside from merely growing in sonic territory, they’ve both expanded their palettes as songwriters, couching a series of spiritual reflections within lyrics for any audience (much like Jump5’s unprecedented crossover abilities).

“We’re very spiritual people, and we love singing and speaking about what we believe as people of faith, but one of the worst ways to convert someone [to Christianity] is by forcing something on them,” advises Brittany, who’s had nearly a decade’s worth of secular market touring experience with her last act. “[That approach] is why Jump5 worked so well with Disney. We didn’t always talk about faith directly, but we still had wholesome values that parents loved for kids. That’s the same way we approach music with Guest, and if you listen really closely, there are certainly [spiritual] themes.”

Outside of her self-penned “Perfect” (about the idea of striving for earthly perfection but always falling short), the project also boasts Brandon’s introspective “Cover My Eyes” and “Final Straw.” Either of those tracks can appeal beyond the church’s walls, though they were again written from the group’s faith-based perspective.

“‘Cover My Eyes’ is basically about wanting to know God and believing that He can shield us from certain things,” Brandon explains. “We can accept that He is our salvation and that He will never turn His back on us no matter how broken we are. ‘Final Straw’ is mainly about frustration and how, sometimes, we put up with something for so long before we finally snap. It is a song that questions the reasons behind our anger, as well as who causes it.”

Through Guest has just gotten its feet wet on the touring trails, additional dates are on the horizon, as is a full-fledged trip into the studio. But those expecting to hear golden oldies from Jump5 on the road are best turning to the group’s previous concert DVDs as set lists are kept decidedly current with an occasional cover or two thrown in for good measure.

“The last show we did was a 40-minute set, which included the whole EP and a lot of room for the band [to jam],” Brittany confirms. “Adding a Jump5 song wouldn’t seem right, though maybe a few years from now, we might throw one in just for fun!”


Visit myspace.com/guestlive for more info.

  
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*This interview first published on November 25, 2008.