Junip is the Swedish ‘psychedelic-folk-rock’ trio consisting of Elias Araya (drums), José González (guitar, vocals) and Tobias Winterkorn (synths). The band is already into its teenage years, having formed in 1998, but this is not a group of musicians who like to rush things. First album Fields was released in 2010 and its eagerly-awaited follow-up was finally revealed to the world last week.
The new album Junip was self-produced by the band with help from Don Alsterberg (sound guru to the likes of Soundtrack of Our Lives) and is released on City Slang in Europe and on Mute in the US.
Recording in the band’s Gothenburg rehearsal space over the course of the year, the three members manage to sound like they’ve squeezed a full orchestra in there with them. On the band’s website González explains, ‘We’d press ‘record’ when we started jamming, and end up with a pretty complete song structure when we finished’.
Many of the tracks do have the essence of a fuzzed-out jam session, with the synths and percussion leading to extended versions of songs – most are more than 5 minutes long – with the sound building and the tension rising (‘So Clear’), although the loudest and fuzziest sound comes on the shortest track ‘Villain’. In its under-2-minutes life-span, there’s a stomping beat with electro-pop synthesiser and a somewhat sinister vocal. If you want sinister though, tinged with a sultry Scandinavian aesthetic, check out the video below for hypnotic opening track ‘Line of Fire’ (directed by Mikel Cee Karlsson); the story continues in the video for ‘Your Life Your Call’ (see here).
Analogue-synth sounds, distortions and repetition
The album is packed with analogue-synth sounds, distortions and repetition – both beats and lyrics. It swings from the motivational to the mournful and back again. Throughout we hear the familiar sound of González’s vocals – tranquil, calming, soothing – pondering this moment in time and grasping for that glimpse of hope: ‘We’re all walking lightly, let these moments last, could be gone so fast’ (‘Walking Lightly’).
Don’t just take my word for it though, here’s how González himself sums it up, ‘It’s ultimately about how the grass will grow after snow melts away: finding that hopeful feeling between the lines, that’s what the whole record is about’.
It will be interesting to see how the album translates to a live show; no doubt there’ll be more than a few magical moment in the Melkweg next Tuesday! For tickets, visit the venue website.
Tue 7 May: Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
Wed 8 May: Brussels, BE @ Les Nuits Botanique Festival
Junip – Released 22 April 2013:
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