July Talk is changing the definition of a Canadian band as one of the faces of our nation’s contemporary alternative rock movement. Their sophomore album Touch was released on September 9 and it is sure to be remembered as one of the best releases this year.
The lyrics to their songs are passionate and deal with themes of love, human-interaction, technology and society. The band’s two vocalists will captivate you and the instrumental work is a perfect example of musical storytelling.
Vocalist Leah Fay Goldstein will shock you with her ability to bring different characters to her performance. Her voice is unique and she often goes from soft and sweet to Kathleen Hanna-esque punk screaming, like in “Johnny + Mary” and “So Sorry.” Goldstein’s full vocal range, power and tonal ability is showcased on Touch.
Peter Dreimanis, like Goldstein, takes on many different characters and has a diverse range of vocal sounds. “Strange Habit”, for instance, is an example of him dialing back the intensity and focusing on a more calm, relaxed feel and on “Beck + Call” he is screaming like a fighter unwillingly restrained.
That being said, don’t be fooled into thinking that the band is only about its singers. July Talk utilizes lots of other impressive instrumentation to tell the stories of their songs and to convey themes. The rolling drums throughout “Beck + Call” (featuring Tanya Tagaq) invoke the feeling of a military band and, with lyrics about love and uncertainty, touches on the ancient theme of love and war.
In “Lola + Joseph” as the vocalists are raging, growing with intensity, the guitar screams and spasms in a way that is both thrilling and erotic. This song, as well as “Push + Pull” are examples of how their music is able to portray ambiance whether that be of a dance club or desolate sidewalk outside of a liquor store.
Diverse songwriting is what really makes Canadian music, not just the vocals, lyrics or instrumentation. It’s a skillful use of all of the above to make memorable songs that resonate with us. I have little doubt that July Talk will be a band synonymous with the canon of Canadian Music.
I give July Talk’s Touch a rating