Junip– Village Underground, London
(May 13, 2013)
Ever since first hearing ‘Heartbeats‘, ‘Crosses‘, and ‘Killing for Love,’ over two year ago, I had been anxiously waiting to see Jose Gonzalez IN THE FLESH. Jose has always reminded me of a mix between Paul Simon and Cat Stevens, but with a bit of soemthing extra (something EXTRA SPECIAL). Having just released a new album (Junip) in April 2103, I was MESMERIZED by all of the new songs played by Jose Gonzalez and his incredibly intoxicating Swedish folk/indie band (Junip) at the Village Underground in London. ‘Walking Lightly,’ ‘Your Life, your Call,’ ‘So Clear,’ and ‘ LINE OF FIRE‘ (especially) were my favorites of the new album, and I’m so glad I was able to get some of them on video (see below). Line of Fire gripped me with such a firm grasp that could NOT STOP listening to it for a good month thereafter, hence it being the title track to one of my playlists: https://beatsthatsetmypulse.wordpress.com/line-of-fire/. Although the lyrics bleed with desperation and despair (“What would you say, if you had to leave today?…leave everything behind…even though for once, you’re shining”), Jose’s calming, tranquil vocals somehow leave you feeling revived:
and fight from the world
your lack of confidence.
What you choose to believe in
No one else around you
no one to understand you
no one to hear your calls.
Look through all your dark corners
you’re backed up against the wall
step back from the line of fire.”
Even amidst the dark undercurrents of the album, there were waves of optimism to keep us afloat. The dizzying trance of he organ and guitar have you shouting the chorus (“STEP BACK FROM THE LINE OF FIRE”) with Jose midway through, and you can’t help but feel resurrected by the end.
Another favorite from the new album that also struck a deep chord and helped levitate my wood was ‘Walking Lightly.’ The bubbly effervescent feeling of the intro (woodblocks, keyboards) makes feel like I am walking on air, and that I am a weightless being…just a passing shadow. Singing along with the lyrics helped me embrace my recent nomadic (living abroad and trying to explore as many countries as possible), because life does offer many fleeting opportunities that we many never get back:
“We’re all walking lightly
We’re all walking lightly
Let these moments last
Could be gone so fast (TRUTH BE TOLD)
Thrown into the mix of these new songs were some oldie but goodies, especially ‘Without You,’ for which I really enjoyed watching Jose’s adroit guitar work and the synchronized buildup of the guitar and keyboard.
‘So Clear‘ and ‘Your Life, Your Call‘ stood out as other gems from Junip’s new collection and I was again gripped by the tension (“Wherever you look, it’s always the same…So many people, and the same game”) in ‘So Clear,’ an propelled to join along when Jose sings the chorus (“If it’s alright with you, Then it’s alright with me,…And I feel so clear”). ‘Your Life, Your Call’ is a perfect follow-upto ‘So Clear,’ and triggers the realization life should not be wasted lamenting over regret or falling victim to situations which we have the power to change:
“It’s your life, it’s your call
Stand up or enjoy your fall
It’s your life, it’s your call
Stand up or enjoy your fall
Pull yourself together
Draw the line.”
Not only did Jose Gonzales (of Junip) help us “step away from the line of fire” and convince us to start “walking lightly” by the end, but his single for the Secret Life of Walter Mitty movie had us “step outside…and leave it all behind.” ❤
Your Life, Your Call: