Album Review: Junk Trunk by Jon-Olov Woxlin

There’s a stoic sense of transparency in Jon-Olov Woxlin’s Junk Trunk, a quality that invariably shines through in this Americana/folk rock/country album, the fifth in his discography. Recorded in a single December afternoon, the album comprises 12 cuts that are framed by an insistent commitment to a stripped-down, honest aesthetic.

Woxlin, the Gothenburg/Helsingland, SWE native who penned both the lyrics and music, opens the album with the raw and explicit “Exit Sign Explicit.” The audacious imagery—knives thrown, beer consumed, dancers gyrating—sets a startling stage, the music coalescing into a sharp, unforgettable sonic knife. Björn Petersson’s double bass provides a rolling backbone to Erik Gunnars Risberg’s fiddle, mandolin, dobro, and steel guitar, lending a rich tonal contour when there’s need for instrumental depth on the album, but the true star is Woxlin’s lyricism.

“Already There” swiftly picks up with a country edge, the melody bending under the weight of longing and loss. The rich interplay of Woxlin’s guitar and vocals and Petersson’s double bass creates an evocative sonic canvas, but it’s the mournful twang of Risberg’s steel guitar that particularly stands out.

“Esoteric Woman of the Night,” a melancholic folk-rock anthem, paints a haunting portrait of a woman. Here, Woxlin’s lyrics are profound, laying bare the universal human experience of unrequited love, estrangement, and longing. Meanwhile, “Our Journey’s Just Begun” offers a slightly sunnier disposition, its melody a gentle ripple on the album’s current.

“For Another Day” taps into the roots of country with its compelling narrative, invoking images of the rural heartland. Woxlin’s vocals sit firmly atop this backdrop, narrating the song’s story with a deft sense of honesty.

“Your New World Is Here” is perhaps the album’s most political track, with its apocalyptic prophesying. It’s a significant moment on the record, a stark reminder of the tumultuous times we live in. “Mother of Fate” and “The Blaze of the Thunder” are equally stirring, blending folky sensibilities with rockier undertones.

“Wrap Up My Heart” is a heartbreaking lament, its painful rawness seeping through Woxlin’s grainy vocals and the mournful twang of the steel guitar. “Venlafaxine #305 & 403,” is a bleak reflection on mental health and the impact of medication, a startlingly candid track that tugs at the heartstrings.

Finally, “Millennial Whoop” concludes the album on a note of weary acceptance and resilience, a testimony to the struggles faced and overcome. It’s a fitting close, the melody and lyrics culminating in a slow crescendo that seems to echo long after the last notes fade.

Junk Trunk’s compelling strength lies in its organic immediacy, as Woxlin rejects multiple takes and overproduction. The result is a startlingly raw and honest record that brings the listener into the room with the musicians. This album is a testament to the power of authenticity in music, demonstrating that when it comes to creating art, honesty often surpasses perfection.

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