Hailing from Portland, Johanna effortlessly delivers haunting music that many other singer/songwriters can only wish to achieve throughout their whole career. Having worked with acts like Iron & Wine and Julie Byrne, Johanna has created her own path and deserves to be on top alongside her peers.
It was roughly two years ago that I stumbled across Johanna Warren. I honestly can’t remember how it happened. Johanna’s music just seemed to place itself into my consciousness at a time when I needed it most. Gemini I was the album that captured my heart. I say captured in both the sense that I instantly fell in love with it but it also held it hostage at the same time. The raw emotion and brutally honest lyrics dealing with a relationship breaking down, coming to an end and the feelings that go with it. Package this with Johanna’s ethereal vocals and the plethora of intricate melodies created with the vast array of instruments Johanna played for the album are absolutely crushing but in the most beautiful way. It’s just pure and can only come from a heart that’s felt such pain that leaves a constant ache.
Gemini II is a follow up to 2016’s incredible Gemini I. Like its predecessor, Johanna tackles many issues that our own mind has to deal with, including the prospect of trusting your heart to another. What follows like Gemini I is almost a journey through the inner workings of Johanna’s deepest and purest feelings. Fear, sadness, loneliness and many of the regular tropes of creating art that comes from your darkest place. However, with Johanna, there is always a sense of hope. This could stem from the fact that Johanna is a very spiritual person, well in as much as feeling a deep connection with the earth we walk on and the stars that align at night to brighten up the dark even when all other lights go out. (This wasn’t an intentional Lord of the Rings reference but it just happened.)
What makes Gemini II different from its predecessor is that there seems to be an underlying confidence, that perhaps the hope has turned into an acknowledgement that you can make it through the hardship. Whether you’ve managed to obtain the outcome you wanted from it or are dealing with the fact that you can’t always have what you want. That acceptance is an incredibly strong part of the healing process. The last line of the album is a confession in the form of “With you, I was infinitely lost.” on closing, this speaks volumes to what Johanna now feels.
Both musically and vocally this is easily Johanna’s strongest work to date, I personally believe and equally hope that this will be the record that brings the intricately detailed and honest art to the ears of all of those who deserve, no… need to hear it.
I wish I had something critical to say about it so that this review didn’t seem incredibly one-sided, but I genuinely can’t find anything (of course in my opinion) wrong with it.
Perhaps for me, I’ll still hold Gemini I closer to my heart but I don’t believe this is anything to do with Gemini II as a piece of art but more the album that is more in line with where my thoughts and feelings lay.
You can watch the fantastic video for Inreverse below –
You can find more on Johanna Warren at the following links –