July Talk was formed.">

Album Review: July Talk’s self-titled debut


Published:

Half drunk in a basement bar in Toronto, Peter Dreimanis was stewed deep in thought, contemplating his next musical pursuit. Little did he expect to hear his muse and future bandmate, Leah Fay, singing on an acoustic guitar that was being passed around. Inspired, he just had to seek out the intriguing stranger. And thus, local blues-rock crew July Talk was formed.

Released in mid-October on White Girl Records, the self-titled album is one of the most compelling debut records we’ve heard in a long time. July Talk is led by vocalist and axe man Dreimanis, whose gritty voice matches the bourbon-soaked smokiness of Tom Waits, Lee Marvin or even a rugged Cookie Monster, balanced out by Fay’s bubble gum pink, syrupy sound. While the vocals are seeded in blues-rock-roots land, the backing band amps up the heavy rock factor. With screaming guitar riffs and clunky, powerful drum beats, the combination makes for one seriously dirty, overdriven and noisy lineup — and could very well become your next dance-around-your-room-wildly-in-your-underwear album.

The first three numbers are enough to blow apart the 10-track collection. Hook-heavy “The Garden” and “Guns & Ammunition” are studded with “oohs” and “ahhs” in the vein of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros (also cited as one of July Talk’s influences). Then comes the clincher, “Paper Girl,” the catchy verses and punchy rhythms of which are like an earworm tunneling its way inside your head. It’s going to be there for a while.

July Talk does fizzle out towards the end, and even dabbles in death pop territory. It even gets downright quiet at times, finishing up with “I’ve Rationed Well,” a rather folksy and melodic tune.  

Lyrically, Fay and Dreimanis explore opposing gender roles and offer up warring viewpoints through their duets. So it comes as no surprise that they’re just as mesmerizing on stage as they are on the soundtrack. Reportedly, Fay once poured what seemed like fake blood down her body and even splashed the crowd at Horseshoe Tavern — after she used the mic stand as a dance pole, that is.

Call it pissed-off flirtation or an all-out romantic melee, but Fay and Dreimanis sing with the chemistry of an old married couple who have known each other for eons. They’re so completely involved that listening to them feels a bit like we’ve intruded on some deep tête-à-tête between two storied lovers that just happen to know how to rock out.

My advice, if when you go and buy the record, is to crank your stereo way up.

Sabrina Nanji is a Toronto-based writer devoted to the underground music beat. She has also dabbled in reporting on the city’s street style and local politics, but her true expertise (though she’s reluctant to admit it) lies in the world of Star Wars trivia nights. Follow her on Twitter here.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Down With Webster’s Andrew Martino on his new project, Honors

Down With Webster’s Andrew Martino on his new project, Honors

Andrew “Marty” Martino, of Down With Webster fame, gives credit to his teachers at Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts for motivating him to pursue a career in music.
Posted 5 hours ago
Dr. Jess on Sex: Tech can help couples keep the spark alive

Dr. Jess on Sex: Tech can help couples keep the spark alive

Toronto couple Alex and Dee insist that technology is the glue that keeps their relationship hot. They use an app to schedule dates/sex (In the Mood), another to expand their sexual horizons (iKamasutra) and even one to control their sex toys (We-Connect).
Posted 5 hours ago
Don’t be so salty: TBH this lexicon is lit AF

Don’t be so salty: TBH this lexicon is lit AF

I asked Toronto teen Grace, 15, to give me a rundown on all the hip words kids today are using. I’ve provided some helpful tips on how parents might work these words into their own convos.
Posted 1 day ago
Masterchef Canada star Claudio Aprile on his new restaurant, Copetin, and life in Richmond Hill

Masterchef Canada star Claudio Aprile on his new restaurant, Copetin, and life in Richmond Hill

Aprile, 48, was born in Uruguay and lives with his wife and children, Aiden and Isabel, in leafy Richmond Hill. He is one of the most popular chefs in the country, but that popularity, he says, began wearing him down. It led him to close his popular restaurant Origin and reimagine himself in the kitchen of Copetin, which opened this summer on King Street.
Posted 5 days ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module