Two years ago, I took the train across the bay to Oakland to see José González perform the best acoustic set I’ve seen to date, while he was touring for In Our Nature. I didn’t know much about him really, except that his cover of The Knife’s “Heartbeats” was undeniably good, as was the rest of Veneer and his sophomore album. That was all.

So, when Junip, a band González helped formed in the late ’90s, began to push Fields singles around the internet, it was admittedly the first I’d heard of them. A few Fields listens deep however, it becomes blazingly clear that Junip’s unique sound is not to be overlooked.

 

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“In Every Direction” rolls open the album with González’s trademark gravelly vocals set over acoustic guitar. An intense melody and driving rhythm are offset by mysterious lyrics, resulting in something I can only call sexy — sexy in an earthy, indie-folk sort of way.

Track three, “Rope & Summit,” also draws instant attention. Here, each role of the three-member band is distinct and lucid, with Elias Araya on drums and Tobias Winterkorn on moog synthesizer. The ethereal moog sets the tone, in its own 1970s spirit, while the percussion pulls the record along. Juxtaposed against Gonzalez’s classic vocals, this is Junip at its purest.

Dark and reflective pieces (“Without You”) mix with sweet and simple tracks (“Tide”) on Fields, extending a colored and moody lilt to the album that any González fan will appreciate.

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