words by tom johnson
So much music seems to be informed by the surroundings from which it came, like rock chiselled by the relentless weather it finds itself stuck within. However, unlike rocks, not all musicians are stationary, and so certain artists tend to conjure their songs from elsewhere, selecting small pieces from the places they pass through, or perhaps have never even been to, bringing them all together to make something illusory, far less determined by time and place.
Julia Lucille appears to be one such songwriter. There are certainly glimpses of the Texas she currently calls home; the soft country lilt that fades in and out of focus at varying points across her new record, but there’s something else here too, something more vague, less determined by physical and familial roots.
Which is to say that her new album Chthonic, released on Friday via Keeled Scales but streaming in full for you below, lends itself to imagination and exploration; a hazy, beautiful space between awake and dreams that doesn’t seem to follow the rules and patterns as we otherwise know them to be.
The album title alone alludes to such things: Chthonic, a real word even though it looks so unlike one, and even less so the more you stare at it. While that word’s meaning relates to the underworld, and the spirits found within, Lucille skirts any sense of foreboding and eeriness thanks to a voice that feels far too pure for such places.
Rolling on through nine exquisite and wonderfully affecting tracks, Lucille’s new album is a true triumph, so finely detailed but always feeling both free and far away, ensuring that while you can trace the lines of it you can never get too close, like watching a bird caught in flight, like imagining what the wind might look like if it was something we could see.
Whether it was intended to be such a thing, Chthonic is a record to get lost in; you might not be able to get a full grasp on it but it shouldn’t stop from you trying; and so here it is, and here you are, and we’re very pleased to provide you with the means to do so. Check out this very special album in full right here, and buy a copy for yourself via the link below.
‘Chthonic” is released on Friday, via Keeled Scales
You can pre-order it here