Fast approaching it’s 100th year, Leeds night spot the Brudenell Social Club inspires fierce loyalty in both bands and fans. All that goes some way to explain why Junip are onto their third appearance here, forgoing the larger venues to park their double decker tour bus in darkest Hyde Park.
Support comes from Mariam the Believer, member of fellow Swedish band Wildbirds and Peacedrums. Melodies scatter as she wafts around the stage, swaying to the rhythmic jazz horns in a surrounded by a tangle of colourful strands. The laidback R&B of ‘String of Everything’ breaks away from the otherworldly energies of Wildbirds, echoing the soulful groove of Laura Mvula. Appearances can be deceiving and Mariam’s flower-child, hippy exterior hides a darker side, as the drums of ‘Invisible Giving’ build to a deafening hum, hints of Portishead and Swedish electro figurehead, Robyn shine through. She stands arms outstretched and shoots the crowd a shy smile, a parting glance at the start of something new.
Junip are a focused band, driving their heads down as soon as they hit the stage. Playing in perfect synergy, with barely the slightest nod for every change of pace, they are so tight a unit its easy to forget Jose Gonzalez is their lead singer, though his voice is the glue that binds them. The solemn sway of ‘Walking Lightly’ has an organic hum that draws in the crowd like moths to a slow flickering flame as they shift towards the vibrating psychedelia of ‘So Far’. The beat gets heavier as we drift further in, trapped in the hypnotic glow. At once spontaneous and meticulously orchestrated, Junip’s are ever evolving musical works of art, half obscured in darkness they surround themselves in the swirling cauldron of ‘After All Is Said And Done’. Their slow, measured pace changes to a frantic blur and suddenly we’re flung back into the light, with buzzing in our ears and delirious grins on our faces. Jose’s famous cover of The Knife’s ‘Heartbeats’ fades into distant memory, without a bouncing ball in sight.