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When you hear the story of how the Swedish band Junip came to be where it is today, you really want to like their music. After all, the trio had to overcome hell, high water and more than a decade to produce an album, it must be half decent. As described (more coherently and in greater detail, if you are interested) in the band’s bio, Junip was originally formed in the late 90s, but circumstances prevented the members from working on the projects with any continuity until they finally were able to put together their critically acclaimed 2010 album, Fields.
One of the very simplistic ways I classify a band is whether their music demands your full attention, or instead is conducive to multi-tasking. By no means does one classification or the other automatically denote superiority in my head, but it helps me decide what might appropriate to put on at a given time (the more you get to know me the more you’ll see my ongoing battle with any and all decision making processes; so far I’m losing). Despite sitting down with the sole purpose of exploring Junip’s music, I found myself attending to tasks around my house rather than sitting intently. That said, I’m not sure I ever left ear shot, and I certainly enjoyed the album. More than once I wondered to myself when I had last heard any vocals, and even when they are present, José González’s soft and rhythmic singing often seemed rather interwoven with the instruments (particularly when a prominent synthesizer was used).
Convoluting my ability to describe the album as a whole is my favorite track on the album, It’s Alright. In this song, the nylon string guitar is finally absent, and instead of González’s voice getting lost beneath a synthesizer, his voice carries the song in what can only be described as a lullaby-like manner.
The band offers samples on their site, which I would definitely recommend over the crap playing on my So-Cal radio stations.
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You know those mind-numbing water cooler discussions about weather, pets and weekend activities? That soul-crushing small talk would be far less demoralizing if it included something you actually cared about.
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