Julie The Band - Wild As The Sky [EP]
2010, Baby Bird Records
When lead vocalist Nathan Blumenfeld-James and lead guitarist Dustin Bath met in high school they didn't have any idea that they might still be making music together a decade later. The Los Angeles natives began a partnership that has continued to prosper over the years, and eventually grew into a band with the addition of Jon Spence and Nick Adams in 2009. The band's debut album, An Act Of Communication, was full of witty song writing and pop structures, and won the band rave reviews from regional and national outlets. In 2010, Julie The Band returned with the six-song EP, Wild As The Sky, maintaining the basic personality the band had established with their debut, but sliding more fully into an Americana influenced-sound.
Wild As The Sky opens with "Working For The Wind", a catchy mix of Americana and rock n roll. Blumenfeld-Jones carries the day, but Julie The Band is as tight as can be behind him. The chorus is the gotcha moment here, built on a great hook and filled to the brim with dynamic vocal harmonies and enough guitar fill to complete the sound. The song is all about making your way through the world without getting caught up in earthly details. "Memories In My Head" recalls a romantic interlude from years before that's been etched into memory for all time. It's almost a lucid moment amidst memory, and is an amazing piece of songwriting.
"Wild As The Sky" is another retrospective, thinking back to the carefree days of youth when the world around you is all you see. The gentle country/folk arrangement is appealing, and seals the connection with the listener. "Big Boned" is an interesting love song about the long haul. Good hearted and sweet, with an under-current of humor, Julie The Band seems to embrace reality in lines like, "When my time comes and that curtain closes / and my eyes don't shine like they used to / forget all that stuff, I just hope I said this enough / I love you." "Perfect Match" is another sweet little love song done up in a nice, simple arrangement. This one is pure mix-tape material. Wild As The Sky closes with "Free As A Cowboy", an ode to walking away from the minutiae of the every day and into a life of freedom. Peace and anger mix in interesting measure in a tune that runs much deeper in motivation than it at first seems.
Julie The Band remakes itself on Wild As The Sky without losing their essential approach to songwriting. Early returns suggest that this is a serious band with a light heart that will continue to grow musically as long as they are together. Don't be surprised if Julie The Band continues to make albums that don't sound much at all like things they've done before. Even for a six song EP, Wild As The Sky is ambitious and brave. Even when Julie The Band doesn't fully connect, they get enough of your attention to keep you interested. As time goes on, they're only going to get better at making that connection.
Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)