Monday, April 29, 2013


FIELDS by Junip (Mute, 2010)

I was interested in the music of Nick Drake and Alexi Murdoch, and when I looked up some of their albums on Amazon I noticed Junip's "Fields" as one of the records in the list of ones also purchased by those who like those other artists. The more I started to read about Jose Gonzalez and Junip the more interested I became, so I purchased "Fields" without having ever heard a note of it. What a great find!

I was pleasantly surprised by the first two tracks, "In Every Direction" and "Always"... simple songs played beautifully, with nice textures and atmospherics. The next track, "Rope and Summit" was even better... it just cooks right along in determined fashion.

But for me, "Without You" is the highlight, worth the price of admission all by itself. It starts off quietly, then builds, and builds some more until it's at a high level of intensity... swirling keyboards, excellent acoustic guitars, and a melody that stays in my head for days at a time. It is space rock at its finest.

And after that song, the rest of the disc was like 'gravy'. I was completely sold.

After repeated listening, I can find no clinkers on this album. Gonzalez has a beautiful, quiet voice that works wonderfully for his songs and for the band's stylings. It sounds like Gonzalez is playing a nylon-string guitar in places, as the guitar sound often has soft tones. The drumming and rhythms are patient and understated. Junip's music works as introspective folk music, as electronic music, as mood music... it works in any way you want it to.

And any way I look at it, it burns with a quiet intensity. It's mellow, but it has a lot of things bubbling away under the surface that help make for a relaxing yet intense listening experience.

And to make it even better, this version of "Fields" came with Junip's two previous ones (the "Rope And Summit" and "Black Refuge" EPs) included in a nice 3-disc package. The EPs are also great!

It turns out I'm a bit late to the party, as "Fields" was released in 2010 and I only got it about a month ago, but I like to say "better late than never"! This is a band to watch out for, and a band to listen to!


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