Julia Jacklin’s sophomore album ‘Crushing’ builds upon the success of her first, resulting in an emotive, personal, and charm-filled experience that also highlights and celebrates Jacklin’s musical talents like never before.
The release of Julia Jacklin’s debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win marked a turning point for the Australian-based singer-songwriter. The album was a standout, garnering praise for its sharp lyricism, wistful melodies, and polished vocals. Jacklin exudes charm and has a gift of delivering some of the most gut-wrenching stories with a poetic candor that turns it into an object of beauty. With Crushing (out February 22, 2019 via Polyvinyl Records), Jacklin gathers all of what made her debut so memorable and turns to dial to 11.
Ominous drum beats introduce listeners to “Body,” the opening track that provides one of the greatest breakup tracks of all time. It’s moody and heavy, showing the disarray that surrounds Jacklin with this relationship. As the track continues, piano and guitar shimmer with the rest of the melody, juxtaposing the antipathy behind Jacklin’s voice as she sings lines such as, “I said ‘I’m gonna leave you.’ I’m not a good woman when you’re around.” Despite the heartache behind the track, it’s also a story of liberation as Jacklin begins her journey of reclamation, a feeling that makes itself evident throughout the album.
Almost a direct continuation of those feelings, “Head Alone” is an empowering anthem that pushes away the physical pressures of romantic relationships and infatuations. Coming from the quiet, somber tones of the previous track, listeners are struck with warm guitar riffs that provide a nice distinction. Jacklin’s evocative vocals soon decry the constant, unwanted intimacy that often smothers and aggravates by signing “Yeah, I’ll say it till he understands: you can love somebody without using your hands.” Those guitar riffs pick up speed, ending the track with a bold and loud presence.
With “Pressure to Party,” those bold sounds make its presence known right from the start. The track carries an early rock and roll sound that thrashes relentlessly, playing off of Jacklin’s textured vocals. The track explores her attitudes about post-breakup life and what comes with it. The ending of a relationships affects many in various ways; some sit with it, some get out there and hedge their bets. For Jacklin, it’s all about doing it on her own time, in her own way. As she describes it, this track “is just my three-minute scream, saying I’m going to do what I need to do, when I need to do it.”
Focus isn’t always easy to keep at it, and “I Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You” acts as a reminder to that. The softer melodies make a return with smooth guitars that careen and create a stillness. The accompanying drum kicks add an additional layer that aids in the impact of the track. Soon after, Jacklin goes full acoustic with the track “Convention.” It’s a shining track that showcases her singer-songwriter roots. Her vocals are atop of it all, wafting around listeners and seducing the ears with Jacklin’s notable vulnerability in her tone.
“Good Guy” begins with a soft snare and subdued guitar melodies, creating somber sounds that evoke feelings of sadness and of isolation as she sings about her attempts at finding any sort of physical touch. Warble-infused guitars then take center stage with “Turn Me Down.” It’s one of the more sonically diverse tracks on the album, showing the range and talent Jacklin truly has. The halfway point of the track switches it up as drums and guitar roar with Jacklin bellowing out “why won’t you turn me down?” With the warble effects making a return, the track then closes out with a quiet exit.
The closing track, “Comfort,” provides one of the most emotional tracks on the album, making listeners hard-pressed not to shed a tear or two. There is a yearning behind her voice that is accompanied by the returning acoustic melodies. Her poignant lyricism shines with an unmatched beauty on the track, eliciting an onrush of emotions that are equal parts painful and comforting. “Don’t know how he’s doing, but that’s what you get. You can’t be the one to hold him when you’re the one who left.” At the journey’s start, there was disgust and redemption, and as the story reaches its conclusion, hopefulness and niceties wrap around listeners, making for a gorgeous ending to a bustling, pain-tinged, yet all around beautiful experience.
Julia Jacklin is unmatched in her creation of windows into her world. She conjures up intoxicating melodies that bring about smiles, laughter, and tears. Jacklin’s musical abilities have never shone brighter, making Crushing one of the earliest contenders for Album of the Year.
:: purchase Crushing here ::
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📸 © Scarlett Mckee