Junip - Junip (City Slang)

Moody folk-singer Jose Gonzalez doesn't like to rush things. The man, whose slo-mo cover of The Knife's 'Heartbeats' was bleedin' everywhere a few years ago, also plays with friends Elias Araya and Tobias Winterkorn in folk rock trio Junip. But while the band formed in the late 90s, they didn't release their first album until 2010. Now they're back, with a proggy, fleshed-out take on Gonzalez's trademark hushed, late-night melancholy.

Released Apr 22nd, 2013 via City Slang / By Ben Wood
Junip - Junip (City Slang) These tales of existential doubt unfurl slowly, in their own time; the brilliantly-named Winterkorn providing the album's trademark sound with lashings of organ and Moog synthesiser. Opener 'Line of Fire' is a delicate slice of beautifully articulated regret, reminiscent of the more elegiac moments on Midlake's classic The Trials of Van Occupanther, with a powerfully surging, string-led finale. Emotionally speaking, this is 'happy/sad' at its Beach Boys / Flaming Lips finest.

The glossily melodic 'Your Life, Your Call' is the other obvious single here, a rallying call for a mopey teenager to get their shit together. More sympathetically, 'Suddenly' is a rare shaft of sunlight as love appears from nowhere ("it was a long cold winter, I didn't think I'd pull through...suddenly there was you..."). Gonzalez's noodly classical guitar bumps up against, what seems like, the 'tropical samba' preset button - and works to surprisingly winning effect.

On other occasions, atmosphere takes precedence over song craft. 'So Clear' is dominated by waves of billowing progressive keys, while the dirgy and distorted 'Villain' is the nearest thing the album has to a tough listen. Luckily, it's also the shortest piece on here, clocking in at under two minutes.

There are some interesting textures here – the churning bass, dubby percussion and whistling of 'Baton'; the funky, walking-pace drums of 'Head First' – which is somehow appropriate for a man who has always been amenable to collaborations and remixes.

After the relative bombast of 'Beginnings', 'All Is Said and Done' ends on a mellow, rueful tone. It's a suitable ending for a decent, if not spectacular, album.