2019, Music

Crushing (2019) by Julia Jacklin

This is a indie singer-songwriter record that vacillates from slowcore to a sound that is considerably more uptempo than that genre would suggest.

This is a really strong set of songs. The lyrics sometimes feel completely unrelatable to me but it’s a testament to the quality of the songs and Jacklin’s performance that I don’t really notice. Jacklin has a great sense of melody. I always feel like slowcore exposes a songwriter’s melodic abilities like few other genres and though some of these songs are played much faster than the slowest slowcore, it’s a testament to her songwriting ability that the slow songs work as well as they do.

Of course that’s also due to Jacklin and her band. Jacklin is a compelling performer, with a strong voice and a lot of emotion in it. Again, I think slow songs can really test the emotive abilities of a performer and Jacklin shines on the slow songs, able to subtly shift the emotional meaning of a particular phrase.

The band works well, able to add dynamism to songs that could otherwise be boring. This is true of the full-band performances of course. There are tracks that sound like it’s just Jacklin solo or with one accompanist and those are a different story, but their existence does add variety to what is a fairly one-note sound.

That’s not to say it is one-note, not exactly. There are songs that are faster and there are songs that threaten to break out. (One very briefly does.) I guess what I mean is that records like this can be a delicate manoeuvre but it’s clear Jacklin has learned from the masters of the genre as the record sounds dynamic even though she’s mostly just playing slow songs.

I’m quite impressed.


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