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Published on April 9th, 2019 | by voxx

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Julia Jacklin – Crushing

The singer-songwriter delivers a wounded but defiant second LP…

The title of Julia Jacklin’s second album is a reference to both romantic infatuation and the debilitating heartbreak that comes when it turns sour. There’s scant evidence of the former on Crushing, though. The songs here sound like a series of dispatches from a long dark night of the soul, the Sydney-based songwriter laying her wounds bare and picking over toxic relationships with an unwavering frankness.

Opening track ‘Body’ is a withering portrayal of a former lover, its snapshots of destructive behaviour delivered over the sparse, slow skulk of the music. It’s an apt scene setter in both subject and mood. The crisp country rock of 2016’s debut Don’t Let The Kids Win is still present – ‘Pressure To Party’ marries its emotionally battered lyric to propulsive, rattling guitars – but Crushing is a bleaker, darker sounding record. ‘Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You’ smoulders with the intensity of Neil Young’s ‘Tonight’s The Night’, while ‘When The Family Flies In’ reflects on the death of a close friend over quiet piano as Jacklin’s vocals quiver.

It can feel almost uncomfortable at times: like in the woozy self-loathing of ‘Turn Me Down’, for instance, but an unexpected, witty lyric is always close by. Gentle finger-picker ‘Convention’ is an amusing riposte to unsolicited advice while the jangling ‘You Were Right’ delivers wonderful put-downs to a controlling ex (“I started listening to your favourite band when I stopped listening to you… you were right, I liked it”). Despite the weight that hangs on its shoulders, Crushing doesn’t feel defeated, rather it’s the sound of a fearless songwriter putting the past to bed and regrouping stronger than ever.

- By Jake White


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