Junius, Camden Barfly, 8th February 2014

Review by Simon Hastelow

Tonight’s foray into the entertainment Mecca that is Camden is in my diary purely for one band: Junius. Although they’re second on the bill at the Barfly, sandwiched between openers, Wolves Like Us and headliners, Long Distance Calling it is only Junius that I’m interested in.

Having first seen them supporting Katatonia last year I was totally blown away by how their music just completely consumes you and I’m at a loss to understand why they don’t headline. Maybe not enough people know them yet? Hailing from Boston, USA they deliver sounds that one minute caress and comfort your inner soul and then quickly up tempo and rip your heart straight out of your chest.

The Barfly may be well known but being basically a small room above a pub it is not the best place to host bands with such immersive tunes. The pile of complimentary earplugs on the bar are a good indication that the sound system in this poky venue only has one setting: 11. I like loud music as much as the next greaser but, bloody hell, it’s loud tonight!

My gorgeous gig buddy tonight is not your normal rock chick but she endures the odd gig to keep me sweet.  She had those earplugs firmly jammed in her ears barely a minute after entering the room.

Junius released Reports From The Threshold Of Death in 2011 and it has constantly been loitering in my iTunes top ten. Whenever I’m on a train or get a chance to get the earphones in for an uninterrupted period of time this is one of my fave go-to albums. It might sound like a bit of an overstatement but it’s the nearest thing you can get to the mastery and near religious experience that Pink Floyd deliver.

Tonight’s tracks from that album do not disappoint but there is something missing, something I cannot quite define, like a kid that’s confident of passing an exam so doesn’t put in the revision. It was good, very good indeed, but not a life changing, tear inducing experience. Perhaps I’ve just over-hyped them in my own head?

Their latest platter; ‘Days Of The Fallen Sun’ – due out weeks after the gig but on sale tonight – is a slight disappointment. They’ve modified and evolved their sound, no longer is it sublime, it’s just ‘very good’ and so it was with the new songs they played in Camden. Even though it has eight tracks they insist on calling it an EP. Maybe they know it’s not quite worthy of being described as a  ‘Junius Album’.

My drink fetcher did comment that she liked it because “at least I can hear what they’re singing”. Personally I was a bit let down. I’ll still go and see them again but I may not save an alarm in my phone for the day the tickets go on sale like I did for tonight.




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