Wednesday 20 May 2015

Julia Wheel

I’ve written about Sydney trio JuliaWhy? before, and have even reviewed their album Wheel a few months ago (you can read that over on The Music website here), but thought I would give it a little lip service today seeing as the band are really getting some strong footholds this year, what with their Canadian Music Week shows and supporting hyped degenerates Fat White Family.

Anyway, Wheel is pretty solid. Maybe it’s the main riff throughout opener ‘Turntable’, but I am reminded of Joy Division, although the sound is more akin to fellow Sydneysiders Mere Women (with a few extra streaks of sunlight and a few extra tears of gutter punk). The gritty riffs that kick off ‘Bride To Be’ are certainly at the forefront of Aussie rock circles thanks to Courtney Barnett’s garage conflagrations, yet this is more aggro in the rolling drums and shouted vocals, which slides into the pastel abrasion of ‘Painkiller’. To flail from post-punk machinations to garage chugging to raucous punk implosions over three songs and five minutes may seem schizophrenic on paper, but the sonic throughlines are held firmly together by Julia's energetic vocal delivery and a tight engine room. ‘La La Love’ fucks with the formula some, highlighting a proclivity for doo-woop garage that explodes into more serrated fare without a second glance, whilst ‘Just One Night’ is the closest the band comes to a straight-up mainstream hit, a power-pop trip that keeps it strong and simple, stupid. ‘Flowers’ is the kind of song Frente would have thrown out if they were more hedonistic; ‘Im Not Gay But Your Boyfriend Is’ grunges things up and brings the tone down even further. Yet for me the propulsive closer ‘What You Want’ is the clincher, a Sleater-Kinney echo down the line, showing serious chops amidst the gurning. A lot of fun indeed.

Get Wheel now through Exxe Records.

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