Julia Lucille is a musician based in Austin, Texas. Her latest album, Chthonic, was released by Keeled Scales back in April, and sees Lucille at the peak of her creative powers. Part folk, part dream pop, part something else entirely, her music combines equal parts delicacy and foreboding with an impressive patience and emotional intensity.

The guitar on opener ‘Eternally’ sounds like embers glowing gently in a dark space, Lucille’s light and airy vocals swooping and swirling like drifts of ash. The lyrics paint a picture of restlessness, of striving for liberty and independence. As we described in a preview back in February, “the album is concerned with the underworld, more specifically descending into as a mode of growth and rebirth (a la Persephone), and ‘Eternally’ shows off the interplay between shadow and light that constitutes the record’s aesthetic.”

“Call but I don’t answer
I long to be eternally free
Not like my mother
Not like my father
But what feels good to me”

There’s an interesting duality on ‘Darkening’ too. The song juxtaposes twitchy percussion with a slow-burning ethereality. The effect is a beguiling dream-logic, a vibe only accentuated by Jordan Moser‘s accompanying video, which is packed full of imagery (including a bonfire, a crystal clear desert pool and a pomegranate).

There’s a strange undulation to ‘Plot of Ground’, instrumentation and backing vocals shimmering like a vision over the desert, anchored in place by its percussion, the skeleton that holds the song in shape. The gently rippling ‘Ariadne’ is backed with pulse-like drums, guitars sprouting knotted and wiry from this beating centre, joined eventually with a sense of off-kilter grandiosity. Lucille’s vocals seem made from some other material, something silvery and supernatural, as she sings quiet words of reassurance to a loved one.

“You get so sad my darling
And I can’t pull you from the deep
You get so sad my darling
And nothing I can tell you
Will reach you when you’re lonely
But follow where my thread leads
While I sing”

At first glance, penultimate track ‘Beneath the Spring’ sounds heart-warmingly tender, and while that’s not completely untrue, it’s not the song you might think. “I find myself keeping house” she sings, “find myself taking the trash out,” as the song reveals itself to be full of internal struggle before ending with the lines: “Can a woman love and not lose herself?”All that’s left then is for the closer ‘Lets Climb Up on the Car’ to usher out the album with deceptive simplicity. The lyrics comprise of just 25 words, but like all the best poems the song captures a sense of something much deeper and wider.

“Let’s climb up on the car
And watch the stars
Oh how I wish I could take your hand
But I don’t think I can”

You can get Chthonic now on vinyl, CD and cassette via Keeled Scales, and digitally from the Julia Lucille Bandcamp page.

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