JULIEN BAKER Funeral Pyre

Julien Baker
Funeral Pyre/Distant Solar Systems
Matador

8.5/10

While living in Bluff City, Julien Baker formed the band Forrister after learning to play her father’s guitar. It wasn’t until she attended Middle Tennessee State University, Baker started to write the songs that would become her debut solo album Sprained Ankle, and promptly left University to become a full time touring musician.

Having made one of the best albums of 2015, Funeral Pyre is the first new music from Baker since that time. While her popularity has grown exponentially, there is no seismic shift in the sound of these new recordings. Baker is most comfortable plucking her Telecaster crisply while pouring out vocals that are smothered in ache.

The tone is set from the first line of ‘I wake up with the same pain every night’ as Funeral Pyre takes no time announcing itself as a bleak tale of relationships that is as raw lyrically as it is musically. Baker agonises as she ruminates on the pain of staying being is as terrifying as the hurt of leaving. The folk undertones of her songs and the heaviness of her words show Baker to be a soul that is much older than her 22 years of age would suggest.

Distant Solar Systems finds Baker processing the vastness of the cosmos while still trying to navigate the chaos of the heart. It is a slower more downbeat effort than Funeral Pyre but is every bit as fragile thanks to Baker’s supple vocal.

Julien Baker writes sad songs that are dreamy and hypnotise. Her second album can’t come around quick enough.

CHRIS HAVERCROFT

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