What happened to rock is a question I too often find myself asking and Sometimes Julie just answered my prayers with their latest release, Where Are You? The album is a joyous ride across American musical terrain full of lyrical depth, melodic colour, sweet driving guitars and beautiful arrangements by hardened musicians. In the words of the Violent Femmes, “I love American music” and this San Diego indie and Americana rock band walks comfortably along the country’s rich musical tapestry with a certain West Coast swagger.
I’m told a chance encounter brought songwriting-duo Monica Sorenson and Rick Walker together to form Sometimes Julie which has, over the years, picked up several other members along the way – so thank the heavens for serendipity. Sorensen’s strong vocals take centre stage throughout the album, so distinct and yet, at times possessed by the qualities of other great singers like Alanis Morrisette, Steven Tyler, Pat Benatar and Chrissie Hynde. The album barely revs its engines before leaving you in the dust with its first track ‘She Can’t Kiss You’.
Heavy guitars drill into crashing rhythms and guitar licks soar as Sorenson oozes cockiness and charm. She sings with edge and, perhaps, about an ex and their new lover’s inability to fill past shoes. The next track, ‘Knew It All Along’, takes a sharp turn into a much gentler territory. The guitar melts into melancholic drawl and Sorensen sings with a yearning, earnestly echoing the album’s title. Sorenson and Walker’s combined songwriting prowess really shines throughout and the music wrapping their words expertly acts to emphasise the strong feelings the lyrics invoke.
‘Own Kind of Saviour’ is one of my favourites. It’s an uplifting track which has Aerosmith vibes and ‘As Good A Day As Any’ is a sweet little gem despite its sad subject matter. In the song, Sorenson sings of goodbye and a “script of tragedy”, of “scars rooted deeply” from a relationship gone sour. A Spanish guitar accompanies the tune with sobering effect. The track ‘Quiet’ is anything but and ‘Lost Art’ delves into the empty feelings after loss. A moody saxophone even finds a way onto the release.
Sometimes Julie’s album Where Are You? drives to mountain heights and blue bodies of water. It’s a teaser for a live show that you won’t want to miss – once this neverending lockdown is finally over.