Julia Jacklin - Don't Let the Kids Win

by Steve Ricciutti Rating:5 Release Date:2016-10-07

Julia Jacklin, the down under songwriter with artistic roots in Appalachia, offers a limited demonstration of her myriad influences on her latest album Don’t Let the Kids Win. Comprised mostly of country torch songs, albeit some with a muddy underbelly and the occasional back beat. Her voice reminds me of Emmylou Harris with her upper reach vibrato, but sweet voice or not, the tempo makes for a melancholy affair.

Over eleven songs, Jacklin goes heavy on bare, muted strummings and light on the lively material, which left me wishing she’d put just a bit more oomph into grooves. That said, there are some nice numbers on here, starting with the best one, “Motherland,” which builds from a slow start to a pleasing climax. “Hey Plain” and moreover “Coming of Age” have some of the grunge influence that’s frequently mentioned as a part of her musical influence, but there’s a paucity of such offerings.

This album leaves me wishing for greater balance, that precise mix of moods that keeps an album in heavy rotation. Don’t Let the Kids Win is best served with the proper contemplative mood, of which this album has plenty.

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