The Julys, The Julys EP

The Julys, The Julys EP

There’s a lot to The Julys’ new self-titled EP that’s decidedly outside the pop realm, with the band grabbing onto a funky, jazzy vibe on opening track “Springsteen,” throwing in some prog-rock bits on tracks like “Privacy” and “Bowie,” and then there’re those bright, shiny, Afrobeat-inspired guitars, which skip and chime along cheerily throughout.

Dig under the surface, though, and setting those little bits of more “intellectual” music aside, what The Julys have done here, really, is craft a half-dozen tracks of fine, impassioned, smart-as-hell power-pop. Seriously; towards the EP’s end, “Declan” is the most obvious proof, a straight-up, Brit-influenced chunk of pop with driving, pounding drums, seesawing, Townshend-esque guitars, and call-and-response vocals (courtesy of frontman/guitarist A.M. Grobelny and keyboardist/singer Nikki Moss), but after listening a bit more, I’m hearing those classic pop structures lurking everywhere, just beneath the skin.

And hey, I’m good with that — great, even. “NYE” and “In French,” in particular, remind me of Elvis Costello at his most sharp-witted and sarcastic, with the latter simultaneously managing to be light-hearted and moody at the same time, tripping jauntily along with ska guitars and lyrics that feel like a backhanded slap to a pretentious (former?) friend who pretends to read Camus but only knows a little French. The band excels at the double-edged songs, really; on “Privacy,” for another example, the bumping and soulfully sweet music conceals a heavy dose of paranoia, tying the protagonist’s fear of this modern age to his fear that his lover’s planning to leave him behind.

Throughout, the music’s rollicking and fun, with Grobelny smirking along over the top, burning with a kind of desperate, frantic, gotta-get-it-out energy that makes me think of OK Go more than anything else. (It helps, of course, that Grobelny can howl like he’s tearing his lungs out but still hold tight to the tune, a la Damian Kulash.) When The Julys ends, I catch myself going right back to the beginning again — these folks really know how to dig their way under your skin.

[The Julys are playing 8/27/11 at The Mink, along with Nic Armstrong, High Dive, & Psychedelic Sex Panther.]
(self-released; The Julys -- http://www.facebook.com/TheJulysBand)
BUY ME: BandCamp

Review by . Review posted Saturday, August 27th, 2011. Filed under Features, Reviews.

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4 Responses to “The Julys, The Julys EP”

  1. Mike on August 29th, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    YES.

  2. Taylor on August 29th, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    !

  3. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 1: The Sour Notes + Tax the Wolf + Art Institute + SPEAK VIII + More on November 25th, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    […] Afrobeat guitars with sharp-edged arrangements and desperate, frantic, OK Go-like vocals; their recent self-titled EP is pretty dang […]

  4. SPACE CITY ROCK » Yr. Weekend, Pt. 2: Reptar (Interviewed!) + Jet Lounge Anniversary + White Crime + Mikey & The Drags + More on June 15th, 2012 at 9:58 pm

    […] Taylor Lee, very cool/devious power-pop crew The Julys (see the review of their first EP here), and Moxy Go Go, which includes one of the former members of […]

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