Sharkin’ Around Music 2022
From Holland with a tear and a smile: a platter high on expectancy soothes the pain.
It all began in 2019 with “The Saddest Song” that Justin Kniest composed for his father, and since then the Dutch multi-instrumentalist’s personal gloom seemed to immensely deepen, so the pieces which “Deep Cycles” is comprised of can be perceived not only as his debut on the creative slope of show business the veteran’s been involved in for years, as booker for “Paradiso” in Amsterdam, but also as a cathartic effort to find peace of mind. Recorded in the company of family and friends, this album may be rather brief, clocking in in less than 40 minutes, but it’s emotionally profound and, unexpectedly for such intense feelings, warm, although sometimes stark.
That’s how “Dark Days” introduces Just to the listener, setting his velvet voice against sparse pulse and admitting to escape from anguish and angst until the artist’s deadpan delivery is bolstered by eerily solemn organ to contrast piano ripples and acoustic strum, These reveal the crystalline, scintillating optimism underneath the distress which will remove the shade of futility from the overall flow and fill “Desperate Play” with a bass-sculpted grace and golden glimmer further down the line, where soaring vocals reach for heaven. As a result, while the serenades “Walk Slow Smile More” and “Feels Like Home” sound depressing in their guitar-and-synthesizer grandeur, there’s always an orchestral way out, an uplift feeding the dynamic sway of “Into The Fire” with barely contained passion and providing “Every Little Tear” and “Down The River” with a shiny, bouncy pop veneer.
It should crack in the epic finale “Eye Of The Storm” which spreads the shoegazing stupor over a soul-searching slice of funk and strings-drenched delight of attaining the psychological balance – and it does indeed. That’s when the album’s full cyclical depth is exposed, begging for a new beginning of a spin – with a cleansing effect.