Down In June is a tribute band from Malmo, Sweden – specialising in (you guessed it) covers of Death In June songs. Moonlighting from their other band, Baby Blonde and the Downs, are Anders Carlsson, Erica Li Lundqvist and Andreas Catjar. On paper, this project would almost seem like the result of a drunken pub conversation:
“Hey Anders – let’s form a Death In June tribute act – just for fun…!”
“Yes Erica, there’s sure to be a big demand for that…”
And yet, against all the odds, the reality is – this is a fantastic album. The Swedish trio are clearly besotted with the collected works of Douglas P, but when it comes to playing his songs, instead of just attempting to copy them, they’ve reinvented them, whilst still retaining the core essence of the originals. A lot of thought has gone into this project – there are numerous memorable arrangement ideas and production flourishes throughout this CD.
One of DIJ’s earliest and most chilling songs, ‘Heaven Street’, is here sped up, and now sports a punishing techno riff at its centre, and Carlsson’s detached vocal style just adds to the horror. ‘Fields of Rape’ is based around a sickening low-end drone, with other subtle sonic details emerging as the song churns inexorably to its end. ‘But, What Ends When the Symbols Shatter’ has a desolate vocal performance from Lundqvist (pitched somewhere between Nina Persson and Nico); and the slow waltz feel, synthesised choir and irruption of cracked electronics perfectly reflect the despair at the heart of this song,
The DIJ faithful will lap this up, but oddly for a collection of cover versions, you don’t need to know anything about DIJ to enjoy this record. It works as an accomplished piece of moody, modern coldwave/neofolk/pop in its own right. There are rumours that Down In June’s next project will be a collaboration with Douglas P himself, and I look forward to hearing the results of that.