Ever wanted to dial back the clock, dear readers?
Once we learn that time is the most precious commodity we’ll ever have, it becomes something that a lot of people beg and plead over. When really they should just appreciate the time they have and make the most of it. And sometimes when we are good little boys and girls, we get rewarded with things like July in the month of September.
July Talk – Touch
released September 9, 2016
July Talk is a Canadian alt rock band, and one of the hardest working acts in town. Well not necessarily in my town, but across Canada, the United States, Europe, and even Australia, they’ve been touring almost relentlessly since they first got traction with their debut self-titled album in late 2012.
Then in 2013 they released a deluxe version of the album with four additional tracks, and I bought that album. A couple years after that point, July Talk were gaining the attention of the US market so they released another version of their album with another three additional tracks.
But they just kept touring and touring. And it’s probably why they were able to keep releasing singles from that first album, and to help us Canucks fall in love with them.
Then July Talk decided to release their follow up album this month, it’s called Touch, and quite frankly, I can’t get enough. Previously Dreimanis and Fay would play their voices off of each other, but they are starting to grow into their sound all the more, and exploring more collaboration and synchronicity between them. If the first album was about trying things and experimenting with who the leader should be, Touch is a recognition of the old adage that playing together is more fun than alone.
And that’s what this album is even stronger than the first one. There is a unity to it’s overall message, what happens when we lose connection with one another? Opener Picturing love has a wonderful piano lead-in and gets our minds out of the old July Talk mechanisms right-quick. The following track Beck + Call confirms that this is not a one man or one woman show, or even a him VS her kinda album – Fay does her part to guide us in, and Dreimanis keeps us boxed in with his howls.
The energy between the two lead singers is tight throughout, and I personally think best demonstrated in Push + Pull, whether that is obvious and cliche can be your call.
There are of course some softer songs like Strange Habit, Jesus Said So, and the title track (which is also the end track). My second favourite track is Lola + Joseph, which fits snuggly between their new material and what we know of their past, and the pacing falls somewhere in the middle too. This is disco-blues after all folks, so we are going to get a wide range of emotions and sounds, but those waves of building sounds are represented well here.
I fully expect July Talk to continue to grow as a band, and if I’m being honest with myself, they’ll probably round out my top 20 bands within the next year or two.
I was almost at the point of emotional overload when I found out that July Talk was releasing a new album in September friends. I might have mentioned this already, but they were my first ever Melodic Monday entry almost exactly a year ago (October 5, 2015). And while I think they deserved that 8 I gave their deluxe album, this one is a 9 all on it’s own, without the benefit of time and rereleases.
If you want to travel back a couple of months, you should probably listen to to July Talk. But that’s just a theory.
I agree that “Touch” is a rather standout 4/5 album, and one that it marks a clear transition in the bands persona, shifting toward a slightly more pop/disco sounding musical expression. While I like most of the new genes, that seem to have been studio engineered into the DNA of their evolving sound, as they have emerged with this ambitious 2nd album effort, I am somehow still left craving for a bigger fix more of the harder edged elements that their prior, more raw, indie rockers style consistently embraced,
This musically visceral, solid punch aspect of their sound may perhaps have become a little too bleach out, and faded while passing through the wash & spin cycles that emerge during this album’s studio production period.
I can think of no better way to illustrate this than by tracing the history of the album’s cover song “Touch” (really two songs). Initially, during the conception and late fetal development stages of this “child-song,” when it could only be experienced within the creative womb of a July Talk live performance, the song only had a tentative name → “Sex Song.”
I first herd “Sex Song” browsing Youtube for live recorded July Talk performances. I stumbled upon the video of them from 2014 playing in a Hamburg, Germany record store (Michelle). [July Talk Live in Hamburg 2014: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnqNTedD9VQ ], and @15:05 into the VID they play a song which Peter introduces with only the words “Let’s Dance; lets fuc_in’ dance” and Leah Fay then launches with the single word → “DANG.” Peter proceeds with the lines → “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours; and if you draw blood, that’s par for the course”
So blown away was I by this song, that I immediately searched to see whether they had recorded it yet, but no luck. So I assumed It must be a song queued up for their next album, or perhaps even a cover. Over time I learned that they sometimes called this song “Sex Song,” and other times “Touch.”
I was very excited when I heard that the new album was to be titled “Touch” and that my fav J-T song would finally be recorded. So when the album finally dropped on 9/9/16, to my amazement, the closing song “Touch,” was NO LONGER “Sex Song.” Instead a fraternal twin song had suddenly matured inside the J-T creative womb, and had now ended up gestating and being delivered AHEAD of my favorite “Sex Song ” baby. Both are terrific songs, but
the thing about fraternal twins is that they are very different creatures. We can hear the new sounding personality of the fresh “Touch” song-child, that is now recorded, but Will “Sex Song” wind up being a stillbirth song-baby, or will it just be a delayed delivery song-baby? Only time will tell. In the interim, I can still pull out my stethoscope and listen in on the heartbeat sound of what I hope is a still gestating “Sex Song” baby at the above Youtube LINK.
I suggest you also give “Sex Song” a listen too, and then tell me to which of these two fraternal twin song-babies would you rather dance wildly?
As for the rest of the album. Lola + Joseph is my favorite song. Overall, I think with some songs, there is too much “repetition looping” of the lyrics and the music. When I look at the opening lyric from “Sex Song” that wasn’t replicated in “Touch” → “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours; and if you draw blood, that’s par for the course” — and I ask myself how could there not have been a space in the song “Touch” to include this amazingly edgy “Sex Song” lyric? Was it somehow deemed out of sync with the directional theme of this new album? If so, then I hope that when their 3rd album comes out, reviewers characterize it as being more of a “returning to their roots” effort.
The new “Touch” album will scratch you back very nicely, but for me me, it’s not up the level it takes to “draw blood!”