The second review of Deep Cycles is as sweet as was the first one. HIFI.nl gives Deep Cycles an 8 out of 10 🙂
Read the entire review below. Click here for the Dutch version on HIFI.nl
Just – Deep Cycles (CD, Sharkin’ Around Music / Coast To Coast)
After a life in the service of music, but always behind the scenes, Justin Kniest took the plunge and recorded his own debut album. Just recently released his first album entitled Deep Cycles, which offers a mix of synthpop, avant-garde music and even some indie rock.
Born in 1969, Kniest has already earned his spurs in the Dutch music world. He was a producer at De Grote Prijs van Nederland, a programmer at poptemple Paradiso and founder of Fabchannel.com.
New music was not only a hobby, but also his job. However, promoting it and the quality he encountered hindered his self-confidence as an artist, something Justin had longed for but never dared.
A songwriter bootcamp he visited in Spain changed that. Two tracks that Justin wrote there received positive reactions, which meant that he self-released them under the stage name JUST. Those tracks were successful, which bolstered Justin’s confidence.
An album was the next plan and Justin decided that none other than musical centipede Minco Eggersman should take care of the production of the album. This happened and the team behind JUST was (logically) soon enriched with arranger René de Vries and studio engineer Theodoor Borger. Later in the process, German session guitarist Lothar Kosse and keyboardist Steven Smith (ABC and Dire Straits, among others) were added to add strings and Hammond to multiple tracks, respectively.
And working with Minco also opens other doors, given the artwork by James Marsh and the photos by Maarten Corbijn.
JUST shows a big nod to the famous names of the eighties on Deep Cycles, without falling into copycat behaviour. Of course the music style with the slightly dreamy singing style of Kniest fits in perfectly with what Minco Eggersman has been practicing for years, so expect a well thought-out portion of melancholy.
The tracks feel very personal, but at the same time very accessible. For example, a song like Down The River is radio-ready, just like Dark Days by the way.
JUST uses well-built structures of his songs, with cleverly thought-out accompaniment from diverse musical backgrounds.
Depth is found in a song like Feels Like Home or the beautiful Desperate Play, laced with indie rock and David Sylvian-like percussion, an up-tempo track like Every Little Tear Falls Down sounds surprisingly exciting and modern and with Eye Of The Storm JUST stuns the listener with an immense build-up and budding in a single song.
The minor refinements added here in the form of instrumentation used, vocal sustains and layered percussion are a surprise, as is the track’s rather abrupt ending.
With JUST and this fine team, Kniest has delivered an excellent debut that will appeal to fans of Talk Talk, Tears For Fears, David Sylvian and other greats of the eighties.
Admittedly, the album has to grow on you but after a few listens the music and the compositions take hold and you sing along to the choruses. Here and there, Kniest still seems to search a bit in his vocal performances, but practice makes perfect.
The album is full of dynamic, rich textures that come into their own thanks to the excellent production. And in this autumnal period, a piece of homegrown melancholy is always welcome, isn’t it? Do listen!