Album Review: Junip- Fields

This is another review I did for the 405.

Jose Gonzalez is back, but has returned to the form of Junip. The story seems to be that they were a band long ago, then Jose did his thing, people loved it, maybe people got a little bored, so now he’s back with Junip. There is very little mention anywhere of the other two members or what they have been doing since Jose left them, maybe they were just twiddling their thumbs, waiting for their opportunity to create something good, and this is it, ‘Fields’.

Unfortunately for them (the two lost members) this album rings everything Jose Gonzalez was ever about. Its got the dreamy, slightly distorted vocals, the complex guitar lines, the melting melody lines but this time its just got a bit of backing. The production on the album is very good, quite fuzzy but well crafted which is always the way I like an album. The songs on a whole are mellow but also with a depth to them which seems to be the main difference between Jose Gonzalez’ solo works to this project.

The first track ‘In Every Direction’ shows off exactly this, it has a relaxed feel, as does the overall album, but their is no lack of instruments behind the base of Jose’s guitar and leathery voice. A lot of the sounds seem to be electronically made yet the album has the beautiful ability to overall sound very organic. Current single ‘Always’ is the catchiest of the songs and the vocal layering towards the end of the song is a very nice touch, also showing off the larger depth of sound Jose Gonzalez can create now he has a band. ‘It’s Alright’ is one of the highlights of the album. It begins much similar than the other songs and the percussion like guitar part works beautifully with the vocal melody.

‘Sweet & Bitter’ begins with a more rock-pop style and apart from Jose’s voice which is continuously similar throughout the album, the track adds a nice contrast particularly at the end when the dense acoustic sound is replaced with a light electronic one. The pace of the album is picked up a little on ‘Off Point’ when the drums get a little heavier however after listening to this album it seems difficult to get any sort of energy in any song you combine with Jose’s hypnotic voice. By the final track you should feel comfortably mellowed and maybe a little switched off, ‘Tide’ is one of the nicest tracks on the album, although the heavy vibrating synth sound over the voices on the chorus sounds a little out of place.

Overall I can’t help feeling a little bored and maybe even a little disappointed by Jose Gonzalez attempt to create a new project. There isn’t really a lot different about this album, it sounds like he has just gone and got himself a backing band. I don’t by any means think this is a bad album, its very listenable, to but not the sort of thing you fall in love with.

Rating: 3/5

Best Tracks: ‘Always’, ‘Off Point’, ‘It’s Alright’

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