As you may recall, we’re fans of JUNODEF. In fact, we’d even go so far as to say that its track “Heights,” which we wrote about late last year, was one of our favorite songs of 2018. JUNODEF has now followed “Heights” with new single “The Things In Front Of Me,” which is somehow even more despondent and roaring than its predecessor.

“Heights” gradually built towards a bridge in which the song’s low end surged up from below like a tidal wave and engulfed the listener whole. “The Things In Front Of Me” pretty much starts there. The muttering bass drone that pops up about ten seconds into the song precedes a litany of chugging guitars, ghastly percussion, and synths that sound as choral as they do apocalyptic. When another layer of guitar — that same fire-hot, slowly unfurling, beastly-sounding instrument from “Heights” — first screams itself into existence about a minute into, “The Things In Front Of Me,” it’s not surprising. It’s expected.

And that’s exactly the point. Whereas “Heights” paved an unpredictable path towards catharsis, the way that “The Things In Front Of Me” both chugs determinedly through its verses and implies the absence of a vital sonic layer. When that layer appears in the form of — what else would we expect from JUNODEF? — a guitar so dark and heavy that the uninitiated might think JUNODEF is a shoegaze-metal band, it’s nothing short of gratifying.

Vocalist Karin Grönkvist sounds like she could use some gratification too. Across “The Things In Front Of Me,” she sings of that exact moment when someone has to decide: Do I keep battling on, or do I just call it quits? “I need to know/that you still worry,” she beckons, as though she’s pleading the listener to keep considering whether to step up or back down. When she intones “please bring her back to me” during the song’s chorus, she’s not looking for another person; she’s trying to find that version of herself she can’t locate, the one who knows how to face her fears. No wonder “The Things In Front Of Me” is immediately brooding — this is serious stuff.

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