Julia Jacklin - Pre Pleasure Music Album Reviews

Julia Jacklin - Pre Pleasure Music Album Reviews
The Australian songwriter’s empathetic, understated rock songs sift through a litany of relationships and beliefs, seeking a balance between thinking about life and actually living it.

On the cover of her third album, Pre Pleasure, Julia Jacklin paws a blown-up portrait of her own face. Back to the camera, the Australian songwriter’s outstretched hands press against a photograph that captures her in a moment of ecstasy, her blue eyes wide and red lips parted. The concept was inspired by one of Jacklin’s new songs, “I Was Neon,” in which she wonders if a version of herself has been lost to time. “I quite like the person that I am/Am I gonna lose myself again?” she repeats, voice roiling with equal parts anxiety and excitement. If she could reach through the photograph and make contact with that incarnation of herself, what would she say?

Change is a constant in Jacklin’s music. On her 2019 breakthrough Crushing, she fought for stability amid breakups and upheavals, finding strength in a renewed relationship with herself. Her third record, Pre Pleasure, again seeks a balance between thinking about life and actually living it. Co-produced alongside Marcus Paquin (the Weather Station, Arcade Fire), Pre Pleasure is an easygoing album from a mind that rarely stops racing. On the opener, “Lydia Wears a Cross,” Jacklin paints a vivid scene of parochial school days spent listening to the Jesus Christ Superstar soundtrack and praying for Princess Diana. Subscribing to the rituals of religion, she admits over a simple drum machine, was easier than real belief: “I felt pretty/In the shoes and the dress/Confused by the rest/Could He hear me?”

As on Crushing, Jacklin’s most compelling songwriting occurs when she explores her relationship with her own body; as she details on the swooning “Ignore Tenderness,” connecting with pleasure can be an uphill battle. The slow-burning “Magic” captures a delicate moment before intimacy when her desire for vulnerability struggles against shame and anxiety. “I will feel adored tonight/Ignore intrusive thoughts tonight/Unlock every door in sight,” she softly assures herself, each word delivered with a quiet determination atop a patient and understated melody. In between these incantations, she imagines a fantasy where she feels confident enough to stick to her own boundaries, a shift of belief suggested by a subtle swelling, a quickened heart.

It’s testament to Jacklin’s empathetic approach that her examinations of other people are equally nuanced. The barebones “Less of a Stranger” examines the complicated bond between mother and daughter, while on the subtly grungy “Be Careful With Yourself,” she implores a lover to quit smoking and stop repressing their feelings. It’s less a Goop-y self-care pitch than a modest declaration of commitment: “I’m making plans for my future and I plan on you being in it,” she reasons.

Closer “End of a Friendship” maintains a similarly measured perspective. The conflict described is hardly explosive—too much energy has already been expended supporting the illusion of congeniality—and Jacklin chooses to provide little of her own perspective. “All my words are caught up in a cloud/You know someday you’ll have to say them out loud,” she sings. For now, she lets a cinematic string arrangement convey the breadth of her feelings and memorialize the friend’s place in her life.

Pre Pleasure takes its time unwinding and occasionally leaves too much unsaid. Some songs drift away, setting a mood rather than communicating an idea. But when Jacklin allows the two to work in tandem, she excels. Nowhere is this more evident than on “Love, Try Not to Let Go,” which finds Jacklin wishing she could give her heart to “everyone somehow.” Love, she attests, is all she desires; atop a breezy, piano-driven melody, she lets the word luxuriate in her mouth, savoring its promise. But opening yourself to the world comes with risks: “I need you to believe me when I say I find it hard/To keep myself from floating away.” The titular chorus interrupts Jacklin’s reverie with a sudden roar of guitar like a train barrelling out of a tunnel, underlining the difficulty of holding on to a feeling. Love, without the complications, is worth freezing in time.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Julia Jacklin - Pre Pleasure Music Album Reviews Julia Jacklin - Pre Pleasure Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on September 03, 2022 Rating: 5


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