Gig review: Julia Jacklin at Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

Julia Jacklin
Julia Jacklin
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If Julia Jacklin is bored of touring debut album Don’t Let The Kids Win, which came out over a year ago, then it’s not obvious from tonight’s set.

Members of her three-piece band, however, are starting to show signs of strain. Guitarist Eddie Boyd doesn’t like playing recent single ‘Eastwick’ explains the Australian singer-songwriter. “I don’t dislike it,” he patiently corrects. “There just isn’t much for me do.” He proves his point by studiously standing with his arms crossed over his instrument for its opening verses, which Jacklin performs solo.

He mustered more enthusiasm for the previous track ‘Why I Love You’, the second of four non-album tracks to be played. Straight up indie-pop, it sees Jacklin break away from the shadow of Angel Olsen with a blistering guitar outro that was written with Boyd in mind.

It’s an oddity in the set, which save for the indie-grunge ‘Coming Of Age’ is heavy on mid-paced 50s influenced country.

First single ‘Pool Party’ is an easy high point in crystallising this sound, blending period vibes with the lyrical theme of a quarter-life crisis. The subject matter shows no sign of abating, with her worrying, “will I be a mother / will I always be a child?” on ‘Cold Caller’.

This treading of themes, and the reluctance to develop her musical style, could be limiting when it comes to recording her second album. She nonetheless demonstrates self-possession underneath her vocal vulnerability that suggests she’s capable of stepping up her game once she finishes this final round of live shows.