Let’s set the scene – a dark underground rock club filled with people viciously dancing all their pain away. That is how July Talk’s new album ‘Touch’ feels. It is creative, dynamic, almost electric, managing to reach deep inside and pull all the right nerves to make the body start dancing.
The first song ‘Picturing Love’ introduces the overall theme of the album – humanity has become obsessed with the idea of being able to connect to one another rather than actually doing so. The contrast between Peter Dreimanis aggressive Tom-Wait’s-low vocals positioned against Leah Fay’s calming tone of voice expresses this turbulent neediness and confusion.
The band’s overall style is all about juxtaposition between black and white, harsh sounds against peaceful ones. Both singers have their fair share of their riot-boy/girl moments in contrast to the idyllic, almost exhausted tones. For example, in ‘Now I Found’ – Leah Fray aggressively shouts the phrase: “Never wanted something more.” At the same time, her doubled voice simply sings it. It gives a great dynamic to the song and makes it stand out more.
While the first half of the album is all about aggression and tricky intensity ‘Touch’ switches gears with a song ‘Strange Habit’. A piano plays a very simple melody with a slight surrealism twist on it. The vocals are silk-soft and smooth perfectly fitting the fragility that the melody portrays.
The songs that follow after are more blues-riddled and rock and roll flavoured. ‘Push + Pull’ is moody, dark and captivating, going along so well with the albums theme. It mixes the previously established sense of despair with a heavy bass line. Whenever the chorus comes up it feels like a shot of throat-burning whiskey – so intense, yet feeling so right in the moment. ‘So Sorry’ is full of garage rock tones, vocals are laced with disdain and intensity, while guitars are quick and out of control.
Towards the end the album goes back to the fake laid back tone. Songs are slower and seemingly more peaceful but the undertones are still dark. Most of their true colours show up in the lyrics, for example, “A girl falls of a building/ Like a star out of the sky”. These are just a few lines from a song ‘Jesus Said So’ and they are definitely not the darkest.
‘Touch’ by July Talk is an excellent mix of raw emotion, poetry-deep lyrics and a play on juxtaposition: loud and quiet, soft and hard. A record like this is very unique and its willingness to expose its bones and veins in order to connect to the listener makes it a stand out in the rock genre.
‘Touch’ is out now via Sleepless Records.
This July Talk article was written by Neringa Bielskyte, a GIGsoup contributor.