With super cold temperatures outside (there’s currently a wind-chill warning in the Twin Cities for wind-chills exceeding -40– no, I’m not kidding) there was no way I was leaving my apartment. It’s warm, it’s cozy, I have a candle going in the kitchen, the smell of fresh baked cookies (yeah, apparently I’m just Martha freaking Stewart today) and a box of CD’s to review. I reached into my magic box and pulled out Julia Christi Ann’s ‘Conjectures’ EP.
Expecting a very low key and calming EP, I was a bit surprised when ‘Conjectures’ opened up with “Before You Go” and a very upbeat drum pattern and guitar line. I was instantly in love and as soon as Julia’s voice kicked in I was even more in love. A little country, a little indie, and a whole lot of comfort, Julia’s voice is beyond perfect and just what I needed on a chilly Sunday morning while sipping my coffee. Although a bright sounding song, if you dig into the lyrics, “Before You Go” can take a very dark turn. “Stay a little longer before you go, before you go.” Take the words how you want but I’m pretty sure no matter how you take them, they are heart breakingly beautiful.
The five song EP moves quickly and before I knew it I was listening to the second track, “Rational” kick in. Definitely slower paced than “Before You Got”, “Rational”‘s sound was what I was expecting when gazing into the cover which just has a picture of Julia standing on a dirt path surrounded by beautiful greenery. Very organic feeling and just down right beautiful, “Rational” had me leaning back in my chair grasping my coffee mug with two hands and just being content with my Sunday morning in. The country twang that was presented in the first track seems to have been replaced by a very jazzy feeling. The way Julia’s voice slides from note to note with a sense of patience and ease is just absolutely stunning. Again, not the saddest song when it comes to the beat, if you start listening to the lyrics, you can hear heartbreak in the words and in her voice but, again, you really have to listen to it to catch the sadness. Although this song kicks off slow and somber, the waves are intense and there are peaks in this song that definitely can catch you off guard. The power behind Julia’s voice is always there but this song shows just how in control she is of that power and thoughtful she is with it. I think it would be easy for Julia to put out an entire album of powerful songs but to hear her use constraint in a song like this and for her to be quiet when she needs to and then let that power sneak up on you is a true talent.
“Cemetery Song” is one of my favorite songs on this short EP. Maybe it’s because it is a Sunday morning and I’m just in a very calm mood or maybe it just because Julia’s voice had me absolutely stunned at this point, regardless, this song is a true gem. Definitely the slowest one yet on this EP, I feel like this is the first time you are able to just listen to her voice without being caught off guard and thoroughly impressed by the waves of energy that her voice seems to possess in the previous songs. Now, don’t get me wrong, this song still has plenty of energy but there’s a very sad sense of beauty in this one. There’s really not much more to say about this song. It’s just one of those that you have to hear and then my lack of words will make sense to you.
“Giving Up” is another favorite of mine. Much like “Before You Go” the upbeat guitar strumming that stays in the background for this song helps hide just how sad and real the lyrics are. “You say you’re giving up my/ Honey I find it hard to believe… Honey I will always stay” I mean, if those words don’t break your heart, I don’t know what will. A clear story teller, just like on the previous songs Julia’s voice reigns supreme over the instrumentation. That being said, the instrumentation is dead on. Every single drum beat and every line of guitar work has a place and a reason for being there. There is not one point during this EP where I found myself saying, dang, I really wish the instrumentation wasn’t there and I could just focus on Julia’s voice. It’s evident that everyone who took part in the creation of this EP has a immense amount of talent and an ear for well crafted music.
The five song EP ends with “Marie” which seems to take the listener back to that almost southern twang that was presented in “Before You Go” but definitely in a more laid back way. Not as quiet as “Cemetery Song” but not as upbeat as “Giving Up”, “Marie” is kind of a sampler of the other four songs on this release. You hear the power in Julia’s voice but also hear that sense of sadness and undeniable feeling of passion that you get throughout this album. Sure, this song is a bit slower tempo wise but there are moments where it feels a bit more upbeat and makes you want to move a wee bit just due to the strumming guitars and the driving drum beat. It’s almost as if she took little elements of the other songs, put them in a blender, and then came up with this song. It definitely leaves you with a true appreciation for Julia and this EP and makes it very easy to just keep these five songs on repeat for a couple of hours.
If I could only use one word to describe this EP it would be ‘stunning’. Seriously. If you find yourself with a morning in or a night at home on the couch with a bottle of wine, throw this EP on and let it take you away.
My Favorite Track(s): “Giving Up”; “Cemetery Song”
Chances Of Getting A Noise Complaint While Listening To In An Apartment: 3.1 out of 10
Day-Dream-ability: 6.8 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artemis slept on the floor by my desk; Autumn slept in the sun on my bed
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 7.3 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4.3 out of 5
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