Given Jose Gonzalez’s maudlin take on The Knife’s ‘Heartbeats’, an album of pastoral folk from his pre-fame band Junip shouldn’t be exciting on paper. Yet, the twinkling psychedelia-infused highlights of their second album could easily soundtrack a trippy, costume-clad folk festival. Intense opener ‘Line Of Fire’ swells from an infectious bossa nova groove into a foreboding climax. However, Gonzalez’s listless vocals can’t rescue the plodding ‘Beginnings’ and experiments like the baggy Primal Scream-lite strut of ‘Walking Lightly’ sound forced and lack innovation. At their best though, Junip’s exotic folk gems have a slow-burning charm and are an impressive step forward from Gonzalez’s easy listening cover versions.
Words by JAMES EVANS