Julien Baker – Sprained Ankle – Album Review
As you listen to the opening track on the new album by Julien Baker, the first thing you notice is the intimacy of the production. It has the feel that she is there with you, in the corner of a small bar, largely being ignored but telling her story.
Julien Baker is based in Memphis, TN and is a mere 21 years of age. This album was originally released in 2015, but she has just been picked up by Matador, who hope to bring the album to the world. The opening song ‘blacktop’ is a guitar and vocal track, with a finger picked guitar line and dreamy vocals. It’s the simplicity of the song that draws you in. The second song is the single Sprained Ankle which adds to the complexity with a bass line and more clarity to the vocal. It builds to the chorus with backing vocals and an additional guitar line and is gone before it really finds its feet. Songs like Everybody Does feel a little too conventional, your average strummed guitar line and shouted chorus. It’s the quieter moments that work better. Something has a lovely guitar line, that bubbles with the simple bass. The arrival of strings is unexpected but works well.
“And I just let the parking lot swallow me up
Choking your tires, and kicking up dust
Asking aloud why you’re leaving
But the pavement won’t answer me” – Something
The album as a whole does not cover any new ground. It’s not starkly original or inventive, but there is something about her vulnerability that attracts you. A frailty that is quite intimate, like you are drawn into her world.
2. Sprained Ankle
3. Brittle Boned
4. Everybody Does
5. Good News
9. Go Home