It is all about Julia. Modern Fables is the solo album by noted singer/songwriter Julia Deans. Deans has already established herself as a Kiwi gem through her work as the front woman of Fur Patrol. This album is all about refining her music, reinterpreting herself as a compelling individual artist and reinforcing her stance as one of our favourite voices.
Modern Fables is an album full of stunning melodies and simple harmonies. In fact simplicity is its key. The potency of this album is the fact that Deans is not there to prove anything. She has nothing to prove to her audience. We already know that she is an artist to marvel at. Deans does not attempt to overplay anything in Modern Fables. This is music at is most undemanding and most exquisite.
‘Little Survivor’ begins with a great brass opening which sets a fascinating tone. In comes in Deans’ voice with jazz footsteps. It is full of pain and vulnerability and is a stripped down song, making it an interesting choice for a first track. Undoubtedly you cannot help but fall for her sultry and graceful tones right from the onset.
The album moves through various moods. From the disdainful ‘Recovery’ to the heartache and tenderness in ‘A New Dialogue’, Deans truly captures the poignancy of song writing.
‘High and Clear’ is a fantastic acoustic track, with beguiling harmonies that are both settling and portentous as Dean’s unearths that “you’ve been feeling so alien.” ‘Friends ‘is a song will make you reminisce about your good friends; true friends whether present or past. Songs about friendship tend to hit or miss; this is definitely on target. It is mature and timeless in its expression. Any song that can conjure up these sorts of feelings cannot be described as anything less than incredible. Modern Fables is a formidable album for its narratives, the ease with which Deans tells these stories that feel eerily familiar.
During turn of the century Deans, as part of Fur Patrol, held a beam of light for a strong Kiwi female voice, at a time when there was arguably a faint presence of successful New Zealand female musicians. Now with Modern Fables she has entered the scene at a time when the female voice is resilient, with the recent triumph of artists such as Gin, Ladyhawke and Annah Mac, and the enduring power of Anika Moa and Bic Runga. Deans places herself back as an artist to be acclaimed along with these artists, and moreover as one of our greatest voices, that is, female or male.
Julia Deans is the star of this show. In Modern Fables you will not want to take your mind off of her. This is all about Julia.
- Janise Kumar.
Julia Deans is the charismatic lead singer of Wellington band Fur Patrol. Now based in Australia along with the band, she has embarked on producing her own solo recordings.
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