Julia Jacklin – Crushing

At times heart-rending, yet ultimately triumphant in spirit.
Label: Transgressive Records
Released: 22nd February 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

For her follow-up to her much-loved debut ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’, Julia Jacklin delivers a masterclass in slow-burning story-telling. A break-up album may be nothing new, but in her hands, ‘Crushing’ becomes something fresh and captivating, simple songs of a complicated human life that are at times heart-rending, yet ultimately triumphant in spirit.

Opening with the breathtaking ‘Body’, the first thing you notice is the intimacy, the stillness and poise. “Do you still have that photograph, would you use it to hurt me?” she ponders softly, the hypnotic, haunting refrain instantly enveloping you. There is a rawness to the production here that gives the sense of being in the recording booth with Jacklin. On the glacially painful ‘When The Family Flies In’, every breath can be felt as much as heard, lending the track a heart-rending aspect. Not afraid to quicken the pulse, ‘Pressure To Party’ propels itself along on a classic driving alt.country beat, while the timeless (and of-its-time) ‘Head Alone’ resonates with a demand for personal space and freedom

Like a movie with a known conclusion told in flashback form, much of ‘Crushing’ details the doubts buried within the dying embers of a serious relationship. A hint of sad desperation lies within ‘Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You’, whereas the empowering ‘You Were Right’ signals someone moving on in their life with strength and resolve. With no hint of cliche or trope, Jacklin strides into new territory on each song, always searching for the story untold. Sadly sighing, “I can’t be the one to hold you when I was the one who left” on album closer ‘Comfort’, there is a brutal honesty that confirms Jacklin as one of the finest songwriters out there.

Jamie MacMillan

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