Julie's Haircut - Invocation And Ritual Dance Of My Demon Twin

by Jeff Penczak Rating:9 Release Date:2017-02-11

You’re forgiven if you passed this one off as some weird Satan-worshipping, black metal, doom and gloom shit. But you’ll also hate yourself in the morning. For, despite their naff name, Italy’s neo-psych/prog commune Julie’s Haircut have perfected their eclectic take on prog-inflected psychedelia for nearly 25 years, and have collaborated with legendary loonies like Spacemen 3/Spectrum’s Sonic Boom and Can’s Damo Suzuki, even briefly performing as part of the Damo Suzuki Network. Previous releases even included covers of film music from Alejandro Jodorowsky (The Holy Mountain) and Nino Rota (Fellini’s Casanova)!

Their seventh full-length (the prolific act has also released over a dozen EPs) relies on a sextet of musicians (just as many others have passed through the ever-revolving lineup) to deliver an amalgamation of sounds and moods (three guitarists, keyboardists, and percussionists and a couple of saxes will do that). The band pull out all the stops on the album’s 11½-minute centrepiece (and opening track), ‘Zukunft’, a slowly evolving spacey throb, gliding across the room on an incessant keyboard riff that takes on Laura Agnusdei’s provocative sax flourishes before a glistening piano motif hops on board to accompany us on our journey to the centre of the universe.

There’s a Can-ish tribal thumping propelling ‘The Fire Sermon’, ‘Deluge’ is just that – an avalanche of skronking sax, brain-pummelling riffing, and heart-throbbing motoric drumming that approximates ‘Master of The Universe’ on an amphetamine-fueled bender, right up to the moment halfway through when they pull the rug out from under you and send you floating skyward on a cloud of feathers. That adrenaline rush returns for a dramatic finale.

‘Salting Traces’ is a melodramatic, cinematic trawl through dark alleys accompanied by more tribal tub thumping and arcade-style electronic bleeps and bloops, and I like the change of pace on the delicate floater, ‘Cycles’, complete with a harmonic choir, tinkling percussives, timpani, and a banjo-like guitar riff pulling everything together. Lovely, indeed! ‘Koan’ ends things on a high note, with flittering flutes, chanting vocals, and all kinds of clanging metallic sounds that evoke Eastern tea ceremonies, temples, and cloud-encrusted mountains.

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