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A lot of folks are operating under misapprehension that Junip is José González‘s new band; in fact, the case is quite the opposite. The Gothenburg, Sweden native formed the trio in the late 1990s, and their first release predates his first solo recordings by three years. However, González’s rapid rise following his 2003 debut LP, Veneer, effectively put Junip on the back burner.
Since then, the band hasn’t gotten together for anything more than a few one-off sessions and 2005′s Black Refuge EP. Now, for the first time in close to a decade, Junip has decided to refocus their efforts on the group, distributing the new Rope and Summit EP for free via their website and scheduling a September 14th release date for Fields, their long awaited debut LP, courtesy of Mute.
The title track from Rope and Summit is an engrossing, five and a half minute trek with a Teutonic groove. Its texture and flow sounds as though Ira, Georgia, and James kidnapped José and made him sit in on one of Yo La Tengo’s killer, meandering excursions. “Rope and Summit” is a decidedly lo-fi affair, with González’s vocals almost sounding clipped at their loudest moments while the instrumentation shares a similar, fuzzy around the edges coloration. Musically, the song quickly leaves behind its airy opening moments in favor of a churning mass led by González’s hallmark classical guitar parts. A thick sedimentary layer of percussion serves as the foundation for twinkling electric piano, propulsive bass, and synthesizers, all of which meld together to form a swiftly moving, unified tide.
It’s difficult to know how fans of the more delicate side of González’s solo work will respond to his “new” project, but those who listen with an open mind will find it hard to resist the power of tracks like “Rope and Summit.”