Everything these days is ‘post-something’, don’t you think?  Post-rock, Post-punk, post-everything.  That being the case, Julia Jacklin’s debut album ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’ should possibly take the mantle of ‘post-alt-country’, whatever that means.  The album’s a lively mix of laid-back guitar-driven songs which lie somewhere between Laura Marling, Faith Over Reason, Eileen Rose and Patti Smith.  She certainly has a voice that would melt butter – ‘Leadlight’ is one of those gorgeous summery anthems which you often hear when abroad, being both bittersweet in lyrical content and smooth as silk in the vocal department.

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Other tracks see a much more relaxed vibe.  ‘Elizabeth’, for instance, takes those same honey-doused vocals and a simple acoustic guitar for instrumentation.  It’s beautiful.  Many of the tracks here tell interesting stories which made me first imagine dusty streets of some American hick town, but Jacklin, it turns out, hails not from the States, but from the Blue Mountains, located a few hours North-West of Sydney, Australia.  Many years ago, I was lucky enough to see Aussie band The Church playing live in Sydney and I discovered that Sydney-siders have a very diverse palette when it comes to music.  Well, there are certainly alt-country undertones within Jacklin’s music, but the album actually consumes several styles.

It’s also a sombre listen, wearing its heart on its sleeve, ‘LA Dream’ coming across not so much as a dream but more as a reflection of a broken dream which was trashed by a boyfriend who chooses to walk out – “Why’d you go to the grocery store on the day you planned to leave? Left me here with all this food my body does not need”.

Occasionally, Jacklin sounds angry at her lot, other times more sad and reflective.  She certainly packs a lot of emotion into these eleven songs, which makes for a compelling listen.  God bless post-alt-country.  You read it here first…

Paul Lockett

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