Julia Jacklin – Pre Pleasure

‘Pre Pleasure’ combines all the directness that’s made Julia a mainstay in every sad girl playlist with a newfound dynamism that brings her to the next level. 

Label: Transgressive Records
Released: 26th August 2022


Often so whimsical and folksy you don’t notice the heaviness of her lyricism, Julia Jacklin makes a B-line for both the drum machine and the orchestra on her third full length, and shouldn’t look back. ‘Pre Pleasure’ combines all the directness that’s made Julia a mainstay in every sad girl playlist with a newfound dynamism that brings her to the next level. 

‘Pre Pleasure’ is a collection of slow burners that often burst into something more frantic, as she unpicks her relationships with herself and others. Opener ‘lydia wears a cross’ works its way through the teenage frustration of growing up as a church girl, who’s heart isn’t in it, the story standing front and centre as it begins backed by a sole drum machine beat and a few piano chords.

Exploring two ends of the desirability spectrum, Julia reflects on her perception of her own body, how she feels in the bedroom and the pressure to explore her sexuality on ‘ignore tenderness’, and takes back the power in her own way on ‘magic’, as she sings “remember what I’m worth and fight for it”. 

The particularly earnest ‘be careful with yourself’ hinges on the premise that her other half shouldn’t run up the life insurance costs, which is perhaps the purest expression of love there is. Elsewhere on ‘Pre Pleasure’, she looks into her relationship with her mother on the affecting ‘less of a stranger’, and closes the record out with a grand declaration of love for a lost friendship.

Speaking of the record, Julia notes that these songs were either written in three years or three minutes, something that’s reflected in the album’s pace. Tracks either bloom slowly and gracefully or explode into a desperate release of emotions.

While Julia has been building her own rep over the years, ‘Pre Pleasure’ should take her to the heights of her sonic sisters – the Mitskis, Phoebes and Japanese Breakfasts who’ve blown up in recent years – on lyrical strength alone. But the thing that puts her in their league on this record is that she jumps in at the deep end, enveloping her usual sound in reverbed guitars, sparse drum machines and cinematic strings, all playing out at different points across the record, but best when it’s all at once.

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