18 Feb 2019
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Julia Deans - Album Review: We Light Fire

11 May 2018 // A review by Jacquie Walters

The acclaimed Modern Fables was always going to be a tough act to follow and Julia Deans has taken her time to follow it – with a full seven-year gap between album releases. She hasn’t been resting on her laurels in between times, however, with a number of noteworthy ventures filling the space. My personal favourite was her spellbinding show paying tribute to the songs of Joni Mitchell.

Deans is in fine vocal form on We Light Fire with the opening track Clandestine providing a compelling performance. Surely Deans must be counted amongst our top contemporary female vocalists. Her control and range is impressive and I found myself hanging on every note of this mesmerising track.

Walking in the Sun will be familiar to listeners, having been released as a single last year to whet our appetites for the full album.

The middle of the album, while solid, doesn’t pack the same creative punch as the its bookend tracks. I found several of the tracks overlong and perhaps a little busy and overblown production-wise. 

The title track We Light Fire is a whole different matter, however. It’s absolutely fantastic. It’s sparse, subtle, lyrically elegant and perfectly balanced. “All I want in this life is a light to relieve me from the cold and the dark 'til the dawn,” sings Deans. At its best Deans' music provides just such a light, and this track is the stand out of the album.

Burning Cars has a riveting air of menace about it and a serpentine vocal line. Centre is a cool and slinky Sunday morning track to listen to with the windows open and the curtains billowing. Chelsea is very strongly reminiscent of Joni Mitchell and clearly a sonic homage to the great artist herself. Very few vocalists could do such a track justice in the way that Deans does. It’s simply glorious.

This is another strong album from Deans. While it’s not the breakthrough album that Modern Fables was, it’s still an excellent collection of tracks from one of our leading musical lights. When We Light Fire hits its sweet spots it’s utterly gorgeous.

★★★★ (4 stars)



Review written by Jacquie Walters

 

About Julia Deans

From honey-sweet falsetto to menacing growl, the voice of Julia Deans has offered light and shade to a variety of musical endeavours over the years. From fronting Fur Patrol’s muscular pop-rock to her electro-pop stylings with Tiki Taane; from co-conspirator with renowned supergroup The Adults to sultry chanteuse with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra; Deans has never shied from adding new strings to her bow. After slipping off her shoes as the charismatic front woman for Fur Patrol, Julia has left her Melbourne home of ten years and returned to NZ to step effortlessly into the role of solo artist – delivering some of her most exquisite songs yet in the beautiful debut album Modern Fables.




Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Julia Deans

Releases

We Light Fire
Year: 2018
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Modern Fables
Year: 2010
Type: Album
A New Dialogue
Year: 2009
Type: EP

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