Julia Jacklin drops the eagerly-awaited follow-up to her 2016 debut LP Don’t Let The Kids Win. Crushing is another record of thoughtful, impressive indie-rock in the Angel Olsen/Cate Le Bon vein. ‘Head Alone’s chorus of ‘you can love somebody without using your hands’ proves that Jacklin is also one of the more incisive singer-songwriters operating today.
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First up she's good at having the sleeves to her records looking like 80s photos of living rooms where someone has left the big light on. Her choice of clothing is also really interesting particularly the Brian Clough-influenced sweater.
So i knew all of that already but hadn't heard the music. Turns out it's (initially at least) nice pop/rock stuff that is slightly more mainstream than I was expecting/hoping. Lead track 'Head Alone' pretty much sums it up in that it's mid paced and melodic with well thought out lyrics but not much interesting going on musically - just the usual chords etc. She has a nice voice with a soft cushiony feel that sounds better on the slower tracks like 'Don't Know How To Keep Loving You' and piano ballad 'When the Family Flies in'. As the album wears on it gets increasingly introspective and more interesting as a result. The earlier tracks with full band arrangements just sound like everybody else - one things are stripped back she comes into her own and her songs gain more originality and quality.
'Convention' is as good as it gets - a glorious ballad of just slo-fi guitar and vocals which seems to set a standard that the Mazzy Star ish Good Guy tries to maintain. Like all of us, she's much better when she's sadder and more confessional.
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