21 Mar 2023

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Julian Terris - EP Review: Tutu

17 Dec 2022 // A review by Kev Rowland

Released last year, Julian Terris’ debut solo EP, Tutu, contains four tracks and he then followed this up with Tama and Taka. There are plans for another four-track EP, after which they will made available as a 16-track album while people can instead go for the EP's if they would rather. He had previously formed two bands, The Majic Roundabout and MOTA, before going out on his own and that experience shows in these four songs which are an absolute delight. He provides the vocals and steel string acoustic rhythm and put together a strong team in Tom Healy on electric guitars, Dan Antunovich on bass, Dr. Small all keyboards, Nick Atkinson on tenor and baritone sax, bass clarinet and a regular (b-flat) clarinet, while it was produced by Greg Haver who also provided drums and percussion. Engineered by Scott Seabright, it was then mixed by Clint Murphy, and mastered by Grammy Award winner Ryan Smith. So there has been significant investment in getting the right players and production team which means there is no surprise whatsoever that the musicianship is top quality and sonically this kicks ass, but what is it like?

I had no idea what to expect, but I do know that after looking at the artwork this was not it. Somehow, I thought it was going to be some synth-driven dance monster with meaningless lyrics and massively auto tuned vocals, but instead we have four songs which are different to each other, all from a rock base with pop elements, plenty of hooks, interesting melodies and a lot going on inside the arrangements. Atkinson may not have huge parts to plat, but when he comes in it is incredibly dramatic, while Haver shows he is a demon on the drums as well as behind a desk and I really should make a special mention of Antunovich as his contribution is immense in the way he sits just in front of the drums to put down the floor or adds additional melodies.

Then at the front we have Julian, who provided all the material (with the exception of the bridge in Tumbleweed) and has told me this is the first written review he has received, which I find incredibly hard to understand. It does not matter who is playing or producing if the songs aren’t there, and this morning I played this EP four or five times back-to-back and found I was enjoying it more each time I listened to it as there is something here which keeps it fresh and inviting. There is a confidence here, a polish which means this sounds as if it has come from a seasoned performer, one who is out to have fun and enjoy himself while refusing to sit in any predetermined box. This is great for him and for listeners, while of course a nightmare for reviewers who need to describe this, but he goes from the likes of Lennon in some places to Runaway Train which makes me think of Horslips while having no Celtic influences in there at all!

This is a singer/songwriter from the 70's who is not going to fix in any particular box as he is not a pigeon and instead has brought us four songs which are dynamic, free-flowing, rocky with a huge sound, and definitely something to seek out. Bring on the album!

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Julian Terris

I have been playing and writing since I was 10 years old. I formed two bands in Wellington (NZ) The Majic Roundabout and MOTA, before striking out on my own. I started playing guitar at 10, and I also play keyboards (piano and sequencing) sax, and harmonica. I specialize in steel-string acoustic guitar and my early songwriting with the Magic Roundabout writing psychedelic punk-pop-rock. My earliest band was a punk-rock outfit and after the Majic Roundabout broke up, I got back into playing in the classic four-piece format, with an emphasis on post-punk rock, still incorporating my earlier influences from The Majic Roundabout.

After MOTA split, I realized that what I loved most about music was writing songs and producing them. Since then, I have been a "solo" artist, writing my material and producing it with Greg Haver and his studio musicians/producers, recording at Parachute Studios in Three Kings, Auckland New Zealand. I funded the album myself, all twelve tracks were recorded at Parachute, with Greg Haver Producing, Scott Seabright engineering, Clint Murphy mixing, and Ryan Smith mastering. I wrote all 12 tracks, including the melodies, lyrics, and acoustic guitar parts, and of course, sang them. They were recorded in 2020 and 2021, and my influences include David Bowie, The Beatles, The Doors, and The Rolling Stones, the material includes rock, jazz, alternative, country, and classical.

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