BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Somewhere along the way, guitarist Jose Gonzales and Junip, the band of which he’s a part, evolved from lo-gazing purveyors of semi psychedelic soundscapes, and opted instead to up the ante with more aggressive instrumentation. Two albums, three EPs and eight years on, the band has made a perceptible shift in their template and transitioned towards an approach that’s often more assertive and assured.
There’s plenty of evidence to support that notion on this self-titled set, from “Line of Fire,” which gradually builds and spills over with its emphatic exposition, to the resolute charge of “Walking Lightly” and the coarser edge of “Villains,” the latter of which favors emphatic instrumentation over a scant vocal presence. That said, the second half of the album finds the foursome relenting and mostly mellowing out. Consequently, “Head First,” “Beginnings” and “After All Is Said and Done” slow the pace to a create more solemn sound. Regardless, the variety adds interest and prevents Junip from being typecast as a band more concerned with ambiance than attitude. By the time the album winds down, the change may seem subtle, but it’s significant nevertheless.
DOWNLOAD: “Line of Fire,” “Walking Lightly,” “After All Is Said and Done”