Published Jan 31, 2020Not all artists are created equal; in an era focused on making hits and capitalizing on trends, Junia-T stands out as an anomaly. His brand new LP, Studio Monk — the climax of a two-year musical journey — seems more focused on crafting vibes that not only stand out, but have all the elements you'd expect from a "classic."
One of the more remarkable things about the album is the ability to traverse seemingly opposing aesthetics, while maintaining a cohesiveness helmed by Junia's orchestration.
For example, there's the three-song sequence that starts with the slow and sexy "Ooowee," featuring Elijah Dax, which goes into the radio-ready banger "Sad Face Emojis," featuring Jessie Reyez, and finally into grimey bars by Nate Husser on the much darker "Try Me." Junia gives a little of everything without pivoting too far from his lane, giving the project an endearingly eclectic feel without creating any jarring moments.
The curation of this guest list is part of the ultimate charm. Though Reyez provides immediate star power — as does Toronto rap vet Adam Bomb — there is also an abundance of incredible newer superstars flying just below the radar. Juno-nominated singer STORRY sparkles alongside Only1KNG on "WYAT?," while Toronto songstress Faiza creates the album's most poignant vibrations on the immediate, reggae-tinged "Puzzles."
With Junia and his massive crew of collaborators (including musicians and artists) having lovingly come together to create the hundreds of records eventually pared down to this 13, there is exciting energy as you bang Studio Monk in its entirety. The sound is warm, every note is purposeful, and above all, the music is excellent. It's the type of album you buy on vinyl and revisit often. (Pirates Blend)