Junip – 'Junip' album review

José Gonzalez and band continue to tread the line between hypnotic and monotonous

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Junip – 'Junip'

  • Rated as: 3/5

There’s a subtle difference between hypnotic and monotonous, understated and undemonstrative to a fault, magically elusive and not-quite-there. And Swedish-Argentinian songwriter Jose Gonzalez, with his weightless multi-tracked vocal and skin-prickling nylon-stringed guitar, seems to have a unique ability to operate precisely at this point.

Curiously this is true whether he’s recording solo or with drummer Elias Araya and keyboardist Tobias Winterkorn as Junip – the band who formed in Gothenburg back in 1998, but took a backseat while their singer shot briefly to international fame on the back of a cover of The Knife’s ‘Heartbeats’ and Sony Bravia’s coloured balls.

The eponymous follow-up to their 2010 debut ‘Fields’ continues to flesh out Gonzalez’s folkish acoustica with unexpected influences from krautrock to Hot Chip-filtered ’80s pop. ‘So Clear’ has a murky Ian Brown psych-groove, ‘Villain’ a buzzing garage-rock bass, ‘Baton’ a Brazilian flavor and a spate of whistling, and opener ‘Line of Fire’ a Foreigner-esque melody that catches light infectiously over climactic strings and a typically melancholy lyric about not seizing life by the balls. But whether it’s the structural default towards ‘groove-out tastefully’ or the feeling Gonzalez himself could at any moment float up off out of the studio without noticing, it’s an album that manages to entice to the exact degree that it frustrates.



Watch Junip's 'Line of Fire' video


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