Date of Release: 23-Apr-2013
Trippy late-night Swedish folk-tronica.
The internet may have created chaos for the commercial side of the music industry, but it has also made it much easier for music fans to discover new artists from every corner of the world. Every year, I seem to find a cool album by a band from a faraway land, completely off the North American mainstream musical radar. This year, that album is the self-titled second full-length release by a Swedish trio called Junip.
If I had to characterize this band’s sound, I guess I would go with “electronic folk”. The songs tend to be built around acoustic guitars, synthesizers, and drums. The prevailing mood is autumnal and unhurried, making songs like “Line of Fire” and “Your Life Your Call” a fine soundtrack for unwinding after a long, stressful day. The slightly more up-tempo “So Clear” rides a head-nodding synth groove, building slowly to its cathartic choruses.
Despite its title, the song “Suddenly” is in no particular hurry to go anywhere. Nylon-string guitars, synths, and what sound like wooden blocks all serve the song’s easy-going melody. “Villain” briefly amps up the angst and distortion, but at a tick of the clock less than two minutes it’s a momentary diversion. “Walking Lightly” steers the listener right back into trippy electronic-folk country. If you liked the Beta Band’s “Dry the Rain” – as featured in the movie High Fidelity – then you will most likely enjoy this record too.
The second-last track, mysteriously dubbed “Beginnings”, is particularly somber and rhythmic. It masterfully sets the stage for the pretty closer, “After All Is Said And Done”. I suspect this song’s dream-inducing slow groove and melody has found its way onto more than a few late-night Swedish playlists.
I forget where I first heard about this record. Might have been in one of the UK music magazines I follow (Q, Mojo, Uncut), might have been a random blog posting. Regardless, I’m glad that in 2013 I crossed paths with Junip – both the band and their self-titled album.