Julee Cruise - Three Demos EP

by Jeff Penczak Rating:7 Release Date:2018-08-17
Julee Cruise - Three Demos EP
Julee Cruise - Three Demos EP

This companion release to the vinyl reissue of Julee’s sophomore album goes back nearly 30 years (29 next month to be exact) to unearth Cruise’s demos for some of the better-known tracks on her debut collaboration with David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti that yielded her unforgettable theme for Twin Peaks. Initially created out of frustration over not receiving permission to use Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’ (as interpreted by Cocteau Twin Liz Fraser on a This Mortal Coil album) in a scene in Blue Velvet, Lynch and Badalamenti retired to the studio with Cruise to come up with a replacement tune that carried the same mood. [They eventually created and used ‘Mysteries of Love’, which also appeared on Cruise’s debut album, Floating Into The Night, although that is not demoed here.]

The first of two Peaks tunes, ‘Floating’ lives up to its title more than the final published version, which had a tad too much herky-jerky syncopation for its titular suggestion. Cruise’s spoken word intro also sets the stage better here than the final version which jumps right into the music. The demo also features an eerier, electronic backing somewhat reminiscent of Bowie’s Eno collaboration on ‘Warszawa’. The sexier, breathier vocal also improves upon the original album version.

The actual Twin Peaks theme ‘Falling’ has the opposite effect, featuring Cruise’s spoken word lyrics and Badalamenti’s sparse keyboard backing. This one truly sounds more like a demo and won’t spark many return listens, the full “orchestral” synth wash of the final product being one of the show’s iconic musical components. Fans of Julee’s voice may prefer this version, as it is essentially isolated from the electronic backing, but this reviewer believes it’s that backing that makes the song.

[Collector’s note: this appears to be yet another demo version of the song, as it is slower, longer, and seems to be a different take than the demo version that appeared on Julee’s extremely limited edition promo-only split single (with Not Waving, Drowning) that Warner Brothers released back in 1989 as part of its equally obscure Soil X Samples series throughout the ‘90s.]

The epic ‘World Spins’ wraps up the EP with over an extra minute of Badalamenti’s dreamy electronics and one of Julee’s finest vocals (and brings the TP connection full circle, having reprised the track at the Roadhouse on The Return’s soundtrack). The innocent little girl-next-door aura feeds Lynch’s romantic, nostalgic lyrics and demonstrates how right they were coaxing Julee, whose resume includes a stint belting out Janis Joplin tunes and replacing Cindy Wilson during the B-52’s ’92 tour into approximating Fraser’s ethereal delivery.

 

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