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Album Reviews

Julie’s Haircut - Invocation and Ritual Dance of My Demon Twin

Julie’s Haircut - Invocation and Ritual Dance of My Demon Twin

Naming their album in such an audacious fashion, the Italian six-piece Julie’s Haircut certainly bring an aura of your somewhat psychedelic cliché. Their satanic sounding album-title gives them a sentiment of something that perhaps tries a little too hard; a name which is then confused further with their Channel 5 soap-opera sounding name, Julie’s Haircut. Nevertheless, they are now seven albums into their career so there’s a reason that the group are still going and now, more than ever, they are picking up a wider and more enthusiastic fanbase.

Now signed to Rocket Recordings, Invocation is their first release on the label which is also home to Goat and Josefin Ohrn & The Liberation, both of which released outstanding albums in 2016. The sound of the sextet of musicians is anything but easy to pin down – the Italian psych/drone races through glimmers of jazz and dirges of shoegaze. Initially inspired by bands such as Sonic Youth, My Bloody Valentine and Spacemen 3, nowadays the same sounds are squeezed through the mould of Dead Skeletons and Amon Duul II. Get your shamanic dances at the ready, Julie’s Haircut are a real omen.

11-and-a-half minute opener, ‘Zukunft’ is a kaleidoscopic intro to the novel of Invocation. Swarms of dreamy electronics lurk behind the motorik throb in the background as the jazz influences of Miles Davis and perhaps more relevantly, Damo Suzuki of Can come into play. Lucinda Giovanardi of the band says, “It’s more similar to what Teo Macero was doing on Miles Davis’ records: improvising freely and then ‘finding’ the song, refining it until it comes out in its final form.” ‘Zukunft’ is a true evolution of a song, the moves in sound are marvellous as the track throbs, swells and glows.

As the curtain of ‘Zukunft’ is lifted, the first voices of Invocation find root in ‘The Fire Sermon’. The bass rumbles of ‘The Fire Sermon’ once again touch home with Can, perhaps a little too close to ‘Vitamin C’ but we’ll forgive them on this occasion as it’s quite the alluring number. There’s nods to Goat on ‘Orpheus Rising’ with lightly strummed guitar and African rhythms, ‘Deluge’ finds closer home to the wall of noise guitars that hark back to the band’s earlier Sonic Youth influences and ‘Salting Traces’ is a calmer exit to the first half of the album, filled with cinematic soundscapes and woozy synth.

The banjos of ‘Cycles’ give the impression of Mumford & Sons on some far-flung lysergic trip through the mindset of Frank Zappa. It stands as one of the better tracks on the album, the treble twang of the banjo sets it aside from the dirge of drone that runs throughout the rest of album, giving the song a personality of its own.

‘Gathering Light’ begins to emphasise some of the issues with Invocation though because, at times, the lucid jams of the six-piece feel a little lost. Direction doesn’t necessarily seem to be the purpose behind the band as freedom to jam seems to be the main order, however when songs teeter on the verge of boring, not always does the group save them. With a little more cropping, the songs may find a slightly more remarkable home than what they ultimately become here – a good blueprint but not always the finished product. The album closer, ‘Koan’ begins with more of a delicate approach than is outlined elsewhere on the record – demonic sounds echo in the corners of the track, hidden behind eerie Velvet Underground-styled guitar drones but it still fails to find much inspiration.

Invocation and Ritual Dance of My Demon Twin is a mouthful to say but, largely a tepid success, as a debut on Rocket. It points to the best time for the band, even if it doesn’t quite reach them this time round. With a little more cautiousness with songwriting, this could have been great but perhaps the ten minute jams are a little more suited to the live setting.
Tom Churchill

Website: julieshaircut.com
Facebook: facebook.com/julieshaircut
Twitter: twitter.com/julieshaircut




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