With the release of 2016’s full-length debut, the folky Don’t Let The Kids Win, acclaimed Melbourne-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Julia Jacklin quickly carved out a reputation for being a direct lyricist, willing to excavate the parameters of intimacy and anger with songs that were simultaneously stark and raw, loose and playful. 2018’s sophomore album Crushing managed to draw the listener in even closer.
Jacklin’s third album PRE PLEASURE is slated for a Friday release through Polyvinyl Record Co. Conceived upon returning home at the end of an extensive world tour to support Crushing, PRE PLEASURE‘s material was finished in a frantic few months of recording in Montreal with co-producer Marcus Paquin. “The songs on this record took either three years to write or three minutes,” Jacklin says.
Jacklin teamed up with her Canadian touring band, which features The Weather Station’s Ben Whiteley (bass) and Will Kidman (guitar), Folly and the Hunter’s Laurie Torres (drums) and Adam Kinner (drums), as well as string arrangements by Owen Pallett recorded by a full orchestra in Prague.
“Making a record to me has always just been about the experience, a new experience in a new place with a new person at the desk, taking the plunge and just seeing what happens” Jacklin says of traveling to Canada to work with a new producer for the third time in as many albums. “For the first time I stepped away from the guitar, and wrote a lot of the album on the Roland keyboard in my apartment in Montreal with its inbuilt band tracks. I blu-tacked reams of butcher paper to the walls, covered in lyrics and ideas, praying to the music gods that my brain would arrange everything in time.”
The album reportedly sees Jacklin expanding upon her signature sound while thematically conjuring the ripples and fault lines caused by unreliable communication.
In the lead-up to PRE PLEASURE‘s release, I’ve written about two of the album’s singles:
- “I Was Neon,” a relentless motorik groove-driven track featuring buzzing guitars, Jacklin’s plaintive delivery and an enormous, arena rock friendly hook. And while being an anthemic bit of rock-leaning pop — or perhaps pop-leaning rock? — the song is rooted in earnest, lived-in lyricism that simultaneously expresses crippling self-doubt with a deeply, intelligent, almost winking self-awareness of how ridiculous it all is.
- “Love, Try Not To Let Go” is a shimmering and swooning Fleetwood Mac-like track featuring Jacklin’s achingly tender delivery floating over twinkling keys, reverb-drenched guitars before exploding into thundering guitar chords during the song’s bridge. It’s a fittingly gorgeous yet brooding arrangement for a song that describes the confusing mix of hesitation and desire one feels towards love, heartbreak and moving forward.
“Be Careful With Yourself,” PRE PLEASURE‘s is a hazy and dreamy slow-burner, centered around layers of jangling guitars, driving rhythms and ethereal harmonies paired with Jacklin’s effortless vocals and her unerring knack for anthemic hooks. At itNs core though, “Be Careful With Yourself” is an honest and vulnerable love song full of hope — hope for the longevity of the partner and the relationship in a way that captures the hopes of a fledging relationship.