Junip Defies Categorization

24 May

Junip

Junip is an indie rock band formed by Argentine-born, Swedish singer-songwriter José González, along with Tobias Winkerton (organ, Moog synthesizer) and Elias Araya (drums). This is only Junip’s second CD since forming 15 years ago — its first was Fields, released in 2010. The rest of the time, González has focused on solo projects. But the growth of this band over the past three years makes the lengthy wait well worthwhile.

It’s hard to categorize Junip’s music — it combines elements of folk, rock, jazz, world rhythms, and electronica. Line of Fire provides a cinematic opening to the CD. With soaring synth strings and lush harmonies, you can almost visualize it as a soundtrack to a movie, accompanying sweeping vistas of luminous landscapes. Yet González’s emotive vocals and guitar work bring an intimate touch to the lyrics.

On Walking Lightly, hypnotic tribal drums and rhythms plus Winkerton’s crisp, clean keyboards paint a sparkling portrait of a walk through uncharted territory. Your Life Your Call blends drums, handclaps and a synth bass line to evoke an easy stroll that takes the edge off what would otherwise be a very chilly chorus, “It’s your life, it’s your call…stand up and enjoy your fall.” And the closer — After All Is Said and Done — showcases González’s vocals recalling bittersweet memories of plans made but missed and promises unkept.

Indie folk? Indie rock? While Junip may be difficult to fit conveniently within a genre, the band makes outstanding music that should appeal to a wide range of tastes. Take a listen, and let me know what you think.

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