July Talk‘s second album is released on Friday September 9th, and opens with the loud gruff vocals of Pete Dreimanis. The first impression was an assault on the ears until Leah Fay’s vocals mix into the chorus. The opening track, Picturing Love, is a great song to make the listener sit up and actually listen. The two singers seem to be arguing for vocal supremacy over the track and eventually find a harmonic balance.
There seems to be a mix of genres within the album that sits well within the alt-rock genre. Track 4, Johnny & Mary, lyrically sounds like the Step Off song from School of Rock in the chorus. The middle of the album contrasts the beginning with soft vocals from Dreimanis accompanied by piano, synth and soft guitar on Strange Habit. This album really shows off his vocal ranges from loud heavy shouting to super soft, almost whisper singing.
Push + Pull is the lead single from the album, which seems to be a mix of their style from their last album while simultaneously launching into something heavier. This makes it the perfect choice for a lead single, and it spent 12 weeks at the top of the Canadian Alternative Chart. However, a lot of bands these days seem to do the black and white video with shots of each musician playing their own instrument interspersed with weird dance moves.
The rest of the album deviates from the argumentative spirit of the opening track as the singers seem to swap lines instead of harmonise. Fay’s voice matches the guitar part in some tracks, whereas for the most part Dreimanis seems to be the ‘lead’ singer in this album. Towards the end of the album seems to get more mellow and samey.
Touch is the follow-up to their self-titled debut album and explores the themes of human connection which weighed heavily on the band during the album’s creation. Dreimanis comments on the album saying, “It seems to get easier every day to disconnect from the people around you. Leah and I started to see human touch as this pure thing—this antidote to a world that had become obsessed with mirrors and screens. We became fascinated with that moment where two bodies can actually touch and experience each other honestly.”
The album ends much like it began; with the two singers sparring for control but harmonising towards the end as tension builds with more and more backing vocals adding in. With an explosive ending to a varied album, it won’t leave you disappointed.
Great tracks: Lola + Joseph, Push + Pull, Picturing Love, Touch
High points: The difference between Fay’s higher pitched voice and Dreimanis’ gravelly voice combining to make something a bit different to most alternative rock on the market.
Low points: Too much repetition towards the end of their songs, and Jesus Said So.