On their latest EP, Gordon June presents a tight, rhythmic selection of songs. In just four tracks, they tell a story of love and loss through a full-bodied, round and uniform indie-folk sound. This sound can be attributed to the balance between low-pitched vocals and a melodic piano. Together, these key musical ingredients create a powerful, often soulful, sound. Gordon June has been influenced by American folk, but they bring a Nordic flair to this wide-spanning genre.
The Danish band consists of five men who work in Copenhagen. The core of the group is Alex Tao, writer/singer/guitarist, and pianist Jamie Ryan, who have been making music together for 15 years. This EP follows their 2015 album Paper Thin Walls. Their experience working together comes through prominently on The Current, which contains a magical ease that only occurs between musicians who really know how to play well together.
The sorrowful, rhythmic voice of Tao is lifted up by Ryan’s hopeful often unexpected piano playing. The interplay between these sounds correlates with the balance of hope and loss present in the themes of the album’s lyrics. Many of the lyrics evolve around losing women, in both romantic and familial relationships. On the title track “The Current” Tao actually transitions from describing a breakup to describing the loss of his mother. He grapples with the repercussions of these losses and how loss can change a person.
Gordon June sounds tight and refined, yet they retain an ease that comes from years of experience. However, this comfort could also be to their detriment. They sound safe. They don’t push the boundaries of what their sound could be. On the track “Smile” they do however, begin to push into more experimental territory. On this track, Tao switches from his usual soulful, Hozier-esque vocals, to a gruffer, deeper sound, akin to Honus Honus from the experimental Philadelphia band Man Man. Gordon June has made a wholly enjoyable EP. However, I’m curious at to what would happen if they enter into more uncomfortable territory. It could be explosive.
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