Júníus Meyvant - Across The Borders - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Júníus Meyvant - Across The Borders

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:7 Release Date:2019-01-25
Júníus Meyvant - Across The Border
Júníus Meyvant - Across The Border

Never heard of Júníus Meyvant? Ok, maybe you know him as Unnar Gisli Sigurmundsson, as his parents do? Still no?

Well, maybe it is no wonder, since Unnar, or Júníus, as he goes on his sophomore album Across The Borders, comes from Westman Islands located off the south coast of Iceland which boasts a population of a mere four thousand people. That didn’t prevent him to make a splash on the ‘main island’ - Iceland, as his first single back in 2015 he won the Icelandic ‘Best Single’ and ‘Newcomer of The Year’ awards. His debut album, Floating Harmonies came out in 2016.

I’m not sure what the usual expectations these days might be when encountering a new artist from Iceland. Electronic experimentation akin to Bjork or Mum or expansive prog/post-rock variations, following the Sigur Ros path? Even that hippie style long hair takes you into one of those directions.

Forget all those. Júníus is your old-fashioned singer/songwriter that mostly goes for... the classic sixties soul sound! Most of the records that filtered to his volcanic archipelago were by the likes of Sam Cooke, Al Green, Motown, Stax... It is the mellow side of soul, with shimmering keyboards and strings like on  “Lay Your Head”  or the more uptempo “Punch Through The Night”.

Some artists attempting this music might struggle vocally, but Júníus doesn’t have this problem, his vocals are quite suited to this kind of sound, sometimes, like on “Holidays”, even hitting a slight warble reminiscent of Devendra Banhart. Meyvant also doesn’t disappoint the singer/songwriter tag, with full-on balladry and an excellent string arrangement of “Draw The Line”, one of the best tracks on the album.

Ok, ‘classic’ soul might not be exactly the music you would expect from somebody coming from Iceland, but don’t let that fool you. With Across The Borders Júníus Meyvant proves that if you got it in your, ahem, soul, you can do whatever kind of music you want and do it really well.

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