Julia Jacklin Crushing
Published Feb 20, 2019This young Australian singer-songwriter made a real mark with her 2016 debut, Don't Let The Kids Win, and subsequent international touring, and this compelling album sets the bar higher.
Clearly written in the aftermath of a broken relationship, its tone is set by the gently mesmerising opening track, "Body." After declaring "I'm going to leave you, I'm not a good woman when you're around," she worries that the spurned lover may post an intimate photo: "Would you use it to hurt me? / It's just my life and just my body." Later, on "Don't Know How to Keep Loving You," she muses that it's because "now I know you so well."
The album title alludes to both infatuation and the pressures of an intense affair, and a candidly confessional tone permeates the whole album, one based around Jacklin's expressive vocals and predominantly sparse arrangements. There is just a slight quiver or hitch in her voice that helps her songs dig deep.
She turns up the tempo on a few spirited guitar-driven tunes, with the multi-tracked vocals on "Pressure to Party" giving it a vibrant power-pop feel that hints at her compatriot Courtney Barnett. Let's hope for more such material in the future. Lyrically, she brings plenty of freshness to well-worn themes, as on "You Were Right," where, post-breakup, she delves into the favourite music and restaurants of her ex-lover. The album closes out with a tender elegy, "Comfort," and the painful insight that "I can't be the one to hold him, I'm the one who left." Powerful stuff. (Polyvinyl/Universal)