Over the past few years, Canadian alt-rockers July Talk have dedicated their time to extensive tours through America and Canada celebrating the release of their self-titled debut album back in 2012. This saw the band achieve a gold record in Canada, and receive the Juno Award for Alternative Album of the Year in 2015.
Nearly four years on, the band are set to release their second studio album, Touch, on Friday 9th September through Sleepless / Island Records.
The success seems to have come thick and fast for these guys, ever since their debut album launch at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. Since then, the album has gone from an independent label, through to Sleepless Records, and a re-release via Island Records, reaching new heights at each turn.
There aren’t many bands in the modern age of music that could ride off the accomplishment of a single album the way July Talk have managed to, but their vicarious energy, stage presence and exclusive style allows their sound to stand the test of time.
The band is made up of the dynamic co-vocalists Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis, guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles, who all together bring an incredible balance for delivering both mellow and harsh tones through their unique sound, especially on the new album.
The album kicks off with Picturing Love; an instrumentally modest, but emotionally strong track, which instantly begins to encompass the message set by the new album. The track covers the modern day struggle with building real-life connections, and how so many people spend their time fantasizing about intimacy through screens and photographs, rather than going out and seizing it, failing to focus on what’s real – true interaction and the human touch.
Beck + Call follows with a blended combination of musical direction, depicting the levels of turmoil felt from the return of someone you can’t disconnect from. It incorporates the struggle of wanting them, while knowing they’re taking advantage of your passion, and not knowing how to break free and move on.
The song brings together grizzly indie rock riffs and a catchy drum and bass rhythm, which delivers a dark Muse-type vibe. The choruses are lead by Fay, which bring an alluring and playful side out of the track.
Dreimanis’ aggressive and powerful cries of “he loves me, he loves me not, she loves me, she loves me not” during the outro are truly chilling, but work so well in capturing the pure mix of anger, confusion and love portrayed by the song.
Strange Habit eases in with gentle chiming keyboard notes and a haunting hushed tone from Dreimanis, before being levelled out by Fay’s warming vocals, as they describe the difficulties of getting over a lost love, and how their presence becomes habit, even if the relationship has changed.
Push + Pull is the first single released from the album, built with a severely catchy hook, and can be described as a definite crowd pleaser on-tour. This sets the scene at the turning point of the story, from the perspective of the (presumably) male lead, where morals and ambition go out of the window, and all that has any meaning is the night ahead.
The track ends at a liquor store the following morning, which is exactly where the next track, Lola + Joseph, picks up and continues with a chance encounter between two strangers (or possibly just two people with a fresh perception of each other?).
Fay and Dreimanis really bring the lyrics to life through their charismatic partnership, coupled with finishing each others verses and the heavy brassy choruses.
The album ties up terrifically in telling a story piece-by-piece, with each stage enforcing the message behind the album, ultimately focusing on the the importance and unrivalled strength of real love and intimacy.
Be sure to pick up your copy of Touch, and check these guys out on their European Tour (which is currently taking place now) and includes three intimate UK tour dates in Glasgow, Manchester and a sold-out show in London.
Recommended Track – ‘Touch’
Touch is the title track and last track on the album, and wraps up the sentiment of the album gracefully, guided through with an eerie opening salvo, the track begins with little more than a basic keyboard melody, and slowly develops into a real free-for-all powerhouse track.
It also has to be said that there is nothing I love more than Fay and Dreimanis singing in harmony, the polar-opposite combination is just so sweet-sounding!
Beck + Call
Now I Know
Johnny + Mary
Push + Pull
Lola + Joseph
Jesus Said So