In Juno Point‘s debut album, ‘Lost Along A River,’ listeners are invited to embark on a tranquil voyage through ethereal soundscapes and introspective lyricism. Much like its title suggests, the album meanders gently, mirroring the ebb and flow of a river, as it navigates themes of loss, longing, and the search for solace.
The origins of Juno Point began as a creative beachside sojourn. Steve Foster says:
It kicked off as a project where Matt, Nik and I each brought a couple of song ideas and we spent a weekend away at Cunjurong Point on the south coast – in the summer heat, swimming and playing guitars to see what we could thrash out.
We had a ball and loved the ideas, so we started to write more songs and reached out to Bon (drums) when it was time to make them something we could play live and record. The songs all started out on acoustic guitars but once we started playing together in a practice room everything went much more electric.
Foster says of the band’s evocative name:
We’re all tied to the water… Juno Point is a landmark in the Hawkesbury that I love – the last place the river turns toward the sea.
The aquatic theme carries on into the album. Foster explains how the name of the album, ‘Lost Along A River’, ties into the name of the band.
It’s a great example of the holistic nature of Juno Point, their name and the album title, the sonic democracy of each instrument’s place in the songs, the aquatic theme of ‘Nazare’ and the floods of ‘A Little Rain’ and singer/guitarist Nik Devenish’s description of his words as swimming in a pond of ambiguity.
Opening track ‘Nazare’ positively floats across the sky with a reflective ambience and sparkling, shimmering guitars that flow with a yearning tone. When the vocals kick in, they have a delicate profundity that recalls The National, expressing beautiful lyrical poetry while a slide guitar etches weeping notes in the distance. Hints of the late great David Berman (Silver Jews), The Go-Betweens and The Chills echo in the distance.
Foster explains, the song’s sense of weightless motion parallels its theme of the oceanic swell of its waves:
‘Nazare’ is the world’s biggest rideable wave. I’ve dreamt of waves my whole life. They rise up in front of me and I sink beneath as a huge volume of water passes above me. I remember reading years ago that they were symbols for emotional upheaval. I always find the dreams serene.
Indeed there is a mesmerising aquatic flow to the track, imbued with an air of melancholy that is wrapped around the gently piano that wanders in the background. The gentle acoustic guitar riffs and delicate harmonies create a sense of intimacy, drawing listeners into the heart of the music.
‘Skimming’ shimmers like sunlight over water and sparkles like a slow burning fuse. The reflective vocals – whispered, almost spoken, recall Lou Reed at times and there is a certain ambiance to the instrumentation, ebbing and flowing with the tides and starting and ending with a wash of water.
Nik Devenish (writer and singer) has a whiskey-soaked gravelly tone like the crunch of shoes on a pebble path. He says of the track:
…my words tend to swim a pond of ambiguity. Plucked out and strung together, barely written. Substances and perceptions anthropomorphised into songs of love/hate. ‘Skimming’ is about the longing and the crush in a relationship with sleep.
There is an ethereal beauty to the track that hangs in the atmosphere like a dream. The accompanying video is a lush and rich portrait of natural beauty that fits the music like a glove”
Tracks like ‘Lined Up’ and ‘A Little Rain’ further showcase Juno Point’s knack for crafting evocative imagery through the haunting vocals float effortlessly over lush arrangements, painting vivid portraits of a dreamy, ethereal world that floats across the surface.
‘Surface Tension’ has a slide guitar edging and dark sonorous vocals redolent of Johnny Cash, half spoken and intense with a haunting refrain.
‘Until I Am Home Again’ is like a seven minute centrepiece. It hangs in the air like a fine spray of mist over a waterfall – enigmatic guitars sparkle and float while the reflective vocals reminisce and recall moments in time. The steady sombre tone adds a darkness as do the melancholy vocals framed by backing vocals, while the intrusion of a rough jagged guitar solo shakes you awake from the dreamy reverie momentarily. This is a majestic track.
The album ends altogether to soon with ‘Red Mist’, a melancholic journey’s end with haunting strings weeping on the horizon, reminding me of times of Neil Young in band with REM. The guitars jangle and sparkle as the song fades out, leaving a sense of euphoria and resolution.
In a world that often feels chaotic and uncertain, Juno Point’s ‘Lost Along A River’ offers a much-needed respite—a gentle reminder to pause, breathe, and find beauty in the quiet moments. With its soothing melodies and introspective themes, it’s an album that speaks to the soul, inviting listeners to immerse themselves in its tranquil embrace.
‘Lost Along A River’ is out now and available to download and stream through all the usual sites and the link above. It was recorded at the esteemed Damien Gerard Studios in Gosford (where Steve Kilbey and The Church are often found). Foster says:
It’s a fantastic studio and it has an amazing collection of microphones I was pretty excited to use. It has a big live space that allowed us to use the live acoustics of the room as an important part of the sound of the record.
Juno Point is another prime example of The Marrickville Sound – veteran musicians from successful bands from the eighties and nineties getting together to create new magical sounds and proving my old adage that creativity has no use-by date (copyrighted of course!). Juno Point contain members of Ukiyo-e, The Cannanes, El Mopa and Tweezer- all familiar bands from the antipodean indie music scene.