Amidst a flurry of international buzz, Julia Jacklin‘s much-anticipated debut release Don’t Let The Kids Win is finally out. The record starts familiarly (with the first three tracks being lead singles) before Jacklin lulls you in further with the gorgeous, acoustic ‘Elizabeth’. It’s a surprising yet welcomed turn early on in the record to forgo the full band sound for the delicate track.
Jacklin‘s latest single ‘Coming Of Age’ is a stylistic stand-out with its fast progression and fuzzy guitar. Despite contrasting many of the other offerings on the release, the track doesn’t feel out of place at all, but merely displays Jacklin‘s diversity of ability. Much like the title track, ‘Coming Of Age’ is about, simply put, just getting on with it. The maturity and energy of the record truly shine through this killer track.
The stripped-back instrumentation in ‘Small Talk’ is deep and rich. Despite this simplicity and the fact that it’s based on a fantasy in which Zach Braff is Jacklin‘s father, the track feels sonically very mature . Jacklin‘s luscious vocals meld delicately with the main guitar line, dancing pleasantly over the powerful backing of the bass guitar and thumping kick drum.
Every aspect of the release is curated masterfully by New Zealand producer Ben Edwards. This is showcased through the acoustic led ‘Sweet Step’ which is sprinkled with expertly spatial hints of chilling electric notes. ‘Hay Plain’ incorporates all the strengths of the record into a single track, starting with delicate minimalism and shifting effortlessly into full instrumental bravado, all while showcasing Jacklin‘s impressive vocal range and maintaining a fluent beauty.
The record concludes with title track, ‘Don’t Let The Kids Win’. It’s an appropriate and delicate ending, summing up the theme of the confusion and self-doubt that comes with growing up. Although most of the album addresses this motif, the title track expresses it perfectly as a delicate farewell to the listener. Two guitar lines entwine gracefully under Jacklin‘s vocals, accompanied by breath-taking harmonies. Ultimately, the title track answers the protagonists issue up in a delicate, comforting way – “You’re gonna keep on getting older / It’s gonna keep on feeling strange.”
Jacklin has cited Angel Olsen (who released her third album My Woman this September) as a musical influence, which is clear on her debut release. However, Jacklin seems to do it one better. The transition between tracks is flawless, as instrumentation shifts from full to minimal with ease, with Jacklin‘s intricate vocals always taking centre-stage. Jacklin has managed to avoid what happens so often with records of the alt-folk/country genre. It’s dangerously easy to have a few boring tracks with the intention of a minimal, delicate aside, yet Jacklin leaps over this hurdle (and on her debut release, no doubt).
Jacklin‘s pleasantly surprising debut hits all the marks on every single track. If this is merely her coming of age, then Julia Jacklin is definitely one to watch.
Don’t Let The Kids Win is out now via Liberation Music
Catch Julia Jacklin on her upcoming Don’t Let The Kids Win Australian album tour
Tickets on sale now via Oztix
Nov 17 / The Foundry / Brisbane
Nov 23 / Jive Bar / Adelaide
Nov 24 / Howler / Melbourne
Dec 1 / Transit Bar / Canberra
Dec 2 / The Small Ballroom / Newcastle
Dec 9 / Oxford Art Factory / Sydney
Dec 10 / FourFiveNine / Perth
Dec 16 / The Carrington Hotel / Katoomba