Beautiful vocals and intricate lyrical sentiment that occasionally treads a new path from Julia Jacklin.
The opener to the third album Crushing
from Julia Jaklin
is delivered affably with mild first track, 'Body'. A pretty starting point but one which finds the listener willing to intensify and deliver just a bit more verve, which it does, eventually. A lot of the first track relies heavily on the vocals but as heavenly as Julia Jacklin sounds, the delicacy and the fragility of her tone doesn’t do much for the slightly cloying track. It’s a shame because previously Julia manages to net a good balance of indie folk and Art Pop without compromising either. This isn’t a reflection of the whole album per se, but it does define most of it.
The perky track, 'Head Alone', is much more of what we’d expect, more gumption, more folk, more country with some intricate guitar riffs that wouldn’t be out of place in, dare we say, a Fleetwood Mac song. The lyrical sentiment is hard to ignore too, it’s compelling dialogue, almost a whole conversation.
Third track, 'Pressure to Party' is the story of a young girl who agonises over the burdens socialising at parties. The tune is jolly and not as foreboding as one might think, but the concept itself is slightly adolescent. Not that her subject tone need be too serious, but the beauty of the song is somewhat belied by subject which does seem a trifle shallow. 'Don’t Know How to Keep Loving You' is very similar to the first track but the tone of Jacklin's voice is even more striking, coupled with a lot more heartfelt, and is rawer than other tracks on the LP - easily could have been the album opener.
Later tracks 'When The Family Flies In' and 'Convention', as with most of the album, draw heavily on Jacklin's vocal, but occasionally fly into sameness territory and threaten to blend together. However, 'Good Guy' is the clear stand out on the record, with altogether more range, more depth, and much more feeling on show, both music and Julia Jacklin's voice being at their best here. Following that 'You Were Right', is a welcomed change of direction and pace and hints at a range that is not fully realised, possibly alluding to future releases. Final tracks 'Turned Me Down' and '10 Comfort' revert back to the familiar melancholic beauty explored on the rest of the album.
certainly has elements of real enchantment, but it's hard to ignore the air of pretentiousness that occasionally surrounds it - the singing while staring out of a car window and ode’s of "no one understands me". There are hints of growing diversity in Jacklin's sound but something that is not fully realised or ventured towards yet. Interesting to see what comes next.
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