Do you know what was the first reason that made me enjoy this album?
It made me want to listen to Porcupine Tree’s old material so bad! And if this isn’t a good reason to start with, you aren’t probably paying attention to what I just wrote!
Junii is a two-piece band from Australia, that mixes post/alternative rock to ambient and (simple) electronic music. Their compositions, even if they’re all pretty short in length, feel airy and dilated. And actually, one could imagine Chameleon -the band’s second official release to date- as one, indivisible piece. Despite it has been split in seven different songs, it’d be easy tracing a line that goes from the opener And Then They Disappeared till the very last note of Challenger.
Chameleon clearly ended up being one complicate album to understand. The many parts and several, different music influences don’t really help out. You must sit through it and give it hours. But you’ll eventually start getting it. Piece by piece and note after note. Presumably, first tunes that will hit you are going to be the -previously mentioned- opener and Ghost 1. The first one is typically post-rock. It features an uplifting, instrumental crescendo where clean-toned guitars “converse” along with thudding drums. And then it suddenly falls towards the second song of the collection, Dead End. While Ghost 1 stands out for its Porcupine Tree/Steve Wilson reminiscences instead. The gently strummed acoustic guitars kind of reminds me of PT’s Nine Cats. The voice is deep, slightly mourful and intimate. It’s probably also the best vocal performance of the entire album, which sublimates on the chorus of the song, where it gets doubled by feeble choirs. Then it all goes down (again) till Ghost 2. Which simply redoes the first part in an “electric way” and puff! We got ourselves a deeply atmospheric, post-rock tune.
The main issue of Junii’s newest EP relies in the inconstancy that permeates the whole work. For example, the vocal rises and shines on Ghost 1 but it also gives a low-point on Dead End, where it sounds lazy and whining. Also the mastering sounds overly dull, while the mixing stage has been carefully treated. Of course these are only bad judgment calls. And they’re probably caused by the freshness of this Australian act as well as they did self-produce everything by their own. (FYK I do admire this choice!)
Getting to the end of this disquisition, I can’t avoid mentioning the electronic/ambient outro track Challenger and the beautiful, short but exciting finale of this album, which is also both hidden and untitled. Still, it is so brilliant. It flawlessly crowns this work with an arousing, post-rock styled climax till the very end of Chameleon. It was a neat move guys!
And that’s it for today. The album was good. It does have some minor flaws that can -and should- be fixed next time, but it also glows with that spectacular shine that only a beautiful, well-constructed underground record holds.