Enter Fields, the latest full-length album from the Jose Gonzalez-fronted Junip, a band busying themselves in the most vague of musical genres: "singer/songwriter". Not nearly as sparse as Gonzalez's solo albums, Fields nonetheless builds on the atmospheric qualities of his solo work, namely loneliness, desperation, yet again forsaking sun-shininess. Junip even makes use of (gasp) percussion to send "Rope and Summit" and "Sweet & Bitter" rollicking on rusty rails, suspended between the cornucopia of acoustic and synth elements and Gonzalez's unmistakable lead vocals.
It should come as no surprise to Gonzalez fans (and really, after "Heartbeats", you have to be a special breed of hater to exclude yourself from this group), but damn, this is one moody record!
What is surprising is that this band shows a hint of a sense of humor on the standout track "Always" (especially in the video). Here lies wit, ever-so-slight and completely deadpan, but present. This shows that Junip, and Gonzalez in particular, has put a special focus on growth, not just record to record or song to song, but within the songs themselves. You can almost see the band, faces illuminated by some sinister campfire, trading scowls with smirks.
Seriously guys, don't take it so seriously.