Julia Robert — ‘For Love & Lies’ EP

It’s finds like this that make the browsing worthwhile.

The #southafrica tag of Bandcamp has bought up it’s fair share of awful psytrance and suspect afrikaans folk-rock, but it prevailed the other day in alerting me to a raucous Cape Town four-piece called Julia Robert. Their 3-track EP ‘Diamante mui Frustrante’ was a rush from start to finish, tho I was a bit bummed out to find out it was released in September 2015 and therefore not reeeeally bloggable.

I dropped the band an email, and heard back almost straight away — “We are literally just about to release a new EP on Thursday. We’re very excited. We were about to send the EPK out today.” After a few technical issues, I received the ‘For Love & Lies’ EP, and was gassed to hear that it’s even better than the first.

While much of South Africa’s guitar music is clean, measured, and obviously influenced by the indie pop of Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club, Julia Robert take a more ramshackle approach and presumably spent more time with the garage rock/punk of Sleater-Kinney and The Thermals as yutes.

As stated in the EPK, “The three tracks on this EP focus mostly on the joys of crippling social anxiety, spooky visitors and gendered tension. Basically the three reasons why the world is like it is right now.” Opener ‘Marky’ serves as a statement of intent, starting in double-time and ripping through the first verse, before a short technical breakdown ushers in a chorus with undeniable singalong potential.

‘Pretty Bloody’ is my personal favourite track, and shows the diversity of vocalist Ines Soutschka’s vocal, this time opting for machine gun flow over a wall of feedback and guitar effects. Throughout the song the tempo regularly changes, sometimes gradually, sometimes suddenly, and the band seem very comfortable with crafting complementary hooks.

The EP is brought to a close by ‘Treat Me Like A Woman’. This is the shortest and simplest of the tracks, and to be honest I don’t have a whole lot to say about it! The repeated line “Can I tell you lies / or will I fuck it up again” obviously harks back to a stage in (possibly/probably) Soutschka’s life in which things didn’t quite go according to plan and hopefully lessons have been learned!

Whether the band are working towards a full length, or happy releasing shorter projects a la Sheer Mag remains to be seen, but I’m really digging what I’ve heard of them so far.