RIFF FUELLED indie-rock is not what you expect from a band led by Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin, who describes her folk influenced solo work as "playing sad music with a guitar in my hand".
Right out of the traps comes 'Uncomfortable Teenager', opening this album with a riff equal parts indie rock rawness and classic rock swagger, with Jacklin's voice capturing the adolescent yearning for escape and fear of an uncertain future, all heightened by the "I don't know why, why" refrain, which raises the song to an energetic climax.
Phantastic Ferniture, then, is Jacklin's indie riff-rock vehicle - and there is much good guitar work here. 'Mummy y Pappy' has a sophistication and attention to atmosphere which recalls The Cure; the groove driven riff of 'Take It Off' should be one of the best stoner rock moments of 2018. Accompanied by fellow Aussies Elizabeth Hughes and Ryan K Brennan, it explores Jacklin's desire to take up an electric guitar and "know what it’s like to make people feel good and dance".
Indeed this is indie-rock of a very high calibre, one which pays homage to the genres's values, yet which sounds very now, very modern. There are choruses and refrains to energise you, and which contrast with the elegant vocal melodies in the verses ('Dark Corner Dance Floor' ); in other songs where the vocals soar, but not in an anthemic sense, more in that downbeat, bittersweet manner that sweeps the listener along, in a strangely joyous kind of melancholy ('Fu**in' and Rollin' ) so characteristic of indie rock. And in that, as well as in her words ("Midnight, that is the only time I let myself think of you. Daylight makes it too clear what I know to be true" - 'Gap Year' ) Jacklin shows she has not left the sad behind.