Jose Gonzalez seems to be the poster child for melodramatic acoustic jams these days, not to mention his popularity boost after being featured on commercials, movies, and TV shows like The O.C. But Jose is not a one-trick pony, he brings a lot more to the table this time around with his band Junip and their first full-length album Fields.
Junip puts Jose Gonzalez in a completely different element and he sure does rise to occasion. Junip is composed of Jose’s two childhood friends, Tobias Winterkorn (keyboards) and Elias Araya (drums). Following their first two EPs, their debut album Fields is an assortment of flawless indie rock tunes.
My first taste of Junip’s debut album was this summer at Seattle’s Vera Project, one of the most powerful and mesmerizing performances I had ever seen. The band played a handful of tracks off of Fields, including the standout track “Without You,” the keyed up “Sweet & Bitter,” and the oh-so-catchy “Rope & Summit.” “Without You” was one of the most moving and memorable moments, it felt as if Gonzalez’s emotionally-charged performance had sucked all of the oxygen out of the venue. With the audience not moving a muscle or acknowledging a single text message, “Without You” was a track that not only caught your attention, but your emotions as well. I left Vera Project knowing that Fields was going to be on my wish list when September rolled around.
When I listened to Fields this past week I was pleasantly surprised on how consistent the album really is, with each track leading into the other. This album isn’t just Jose Gonzalez, it is a great collaborative effort between all three of the friends. Often times with a superstar musician fronting a band of unknowns, albums can come off as more orchestrated solo efforts. But it’s apparent that each member has contributed their own unique flavor to this album, creating a triumphant expression of love, loss, and everything in between.