– by Louis Humberstone
With the release of her debut album Don’t Let the Kids Win, Julia Jacklin dances the line between classic and contemporary with a collection of standout Indie-Folk tunes.
Recorded in New Zealand, the album showcases the talent of Jacklin as a singer-songwriter, with a series of both likable and thoughtful songs which put on display her unique and rich vocal abilities. Don’t Let the Kids Win certainly doesn’t sound like a debut, it is mature and confident in songwriting, yet it is also fresh and contemporary.
The album kicks off with “Pool Party”, a weary Country-tinged ballad where everything moves along with a vintage shuffle that makes you want to slow-dance. The line “So for me won’t you try” has that classic quality which shows Jacklin as both a universal yet personable lyricist.
Things only get better with “Lead Light”, a remarkable track where Jacklin pushes her vocal melodies in surprising directions, whilst the instruments echo the classic era of 60s Pop. As Jacklin sings “I love you my darling I do!” in the chorus, the line is subverted by the wit of the next, which protests, “But I can’t promise I’ll be here to see this whole love through”. The swelling vocal harmonies at the tail end lift the song with nifty production by Ben Edwards.
The electric guitar and vocal makeup of “LA Dream” is sparse yet nonetheless captivating. “LA Dream” seems to hold the listener under a spell as Jacklin asks, “Why did you go to the grocery store on a day you planned to leave?” Of the track she says, “I really love this song so of course it was super hard to record. I think I recorded this on the last day. I just had to get it down. Because it’s a live take it’s hard to ever feel super confident with the whole piece. I made Ben leave the studio, so it was just the dogs and me in there.”
Although a Blue Mountains local, Jacklin burst onto the international scene even before her debut album was released, with a variety of shows across the globe, both by herself and with Marlon Williams. Expect to see her coming back home with a series of dates across the country in later this year.
With every track on so good yet so different, it is hard to single a couple out. “Coming of Age” is Rock infused and catchy, and about as heavy as the album gets. Meanwhile, “Hay Plain” has soaring, beautiful vocals that sound like an updated Joni Mitchell.
On Don’t Let the Kids Win, Julia Jacklin debuts with one of the strongest albums of the year, a stirring, clever set of songs which demonstrate wit and independence. Expect great things from Julia Jacklin in the future, as she continues to develop from the high point where she has begun.
Julia Jacklin’s debut album, Don’t Let’ the Kids Win, is out now via Liberation Music. She will be playing at FourFiveNine in Perth on December 10.