Boomkat Product Review:
Jose Gonzalez returns with his two fellow Gothenburg-based pals Elias Araya (drums) and Tobias Winterkorn (organ, synthesizer) for a fine full-length offering.
Junip has been something of a stop-start affair for this trio, with other projects getting in the way of a solid stretch of releases and touring - as you'd imagine, Gonzalez has been quite busy over the past couple of years - but for now the musicians have elected to channel all their creative energies into Junip. The threesome enjoy an unusual sound that doesn't really throw up too many external reference points, something that's partly to do with the distinctive recording style on show; as with Gonzalez's solo records there's an almost crumbling, muffled sound presiding over the instruments and vocals with in-the-red levels of warmth and saturation at play that thanks to some nice, spacious mixing still manages to sound hi-fi.
Impressive levels of musicianship from each player helps greatly on this front too, and the trio format lends each player abundant space to flourish. In addition to Gonzalez's nylon-picking central role, the other two really hold their own, forming an exceptional rhythm section and going far beyond functionality when called upon - Araya's drumming represents a continual highlight of the record, and Winterkorn always seems poised to take Junip's sound into expansive new territory. Consequently, Fields is no simple folk enterprise. Among the standout moments there's a kid of rustic krautrocking feel to 'Sweet & Bitter' and 'Rope & Summit' while 'Howl' has an almost Suicide-like feel to it despite the organic, largely acoustic instrumentation. Gonzalez's songs remain as strong as ever, although his writing style tends to reshape itself around the more muscular dynamics imposed by the band's configuration. Glimmers of the Swedish troubadours solo catalogue are most clearly evident in the lulling arpeggios of 'Don't Let It Pass' (complete with lovely Moog melodies from Winterkorn) and the beautifully pieced together guitar work of 'To The Grain', leaving his established fanbase with plenty to get justifiably excited about.