Aug 2012 27

Julien-K - We're Here With YouJulien-K
Category: Electro/Rock
Album: We’re Here With You
Stars: 4
Blurb: Perhaps less abrasive but no less edgy, the sophomore album from Julien-K weaves a lush tapestry of sensual grooves, punchy rock hooks, and passionate melodies.


 

Having effectively emerged from the shadow of their previous band, Ryan Shuck and Amir Derakh have with the help of renowned producer and programmer Anthony “Fu” Valcic brought Julien-K into its own with the Death to Analog debut in 2009. With the band’s energetic mix of gritty synth and guitars, danceable grooves, and Shuck’s diverse vocal range, Death to Analog was as fresh as it was familiar; a sort of ‘80s new wave filtered through the distorted lens of modern alt. rock. With We’re Here With You, Julien-K takes this formula in a new direction no less edgy, but perhaps less abrasive.

As with the previous album, the band brings in several collaborators to make for a varied yet cohesive sound. From the first seething throbs of bass synth on the opening title track, the influence of MOTOR’s Bryan Black and Olivier Grasset is immediately felt, with Shuck’s passionate voice and Derakhs’ chunky guitar riffs evoking a classic rock feel firmly establishing the song as Julien-K at its grooviest. The same can be said for “Breakfast in Berlin” as a fuzzy bass courtesy of Sharooz creates a rather sensually infectious rhythm that with Shuck’s “ah-ah-ah” refrains and semi-spoken verses makes for a perfect soundtrack to nightclubbing in any big city hotspot. “Cruel Daze of Summer” storms out of the gate with a punchy bass and beat, the resonant guitar melody melding with the synths to weave a lush tapestry of sound that with the melancholy lyrics lives up to the song’s title, evoking a bitter end to a beachside romance. Similarly, “Nights of Future Past” ranks as this writer’s favorite track for its visceral ambience and smooth rhythm, which in combination with the impassioned vocal harmonies in the chorus gives the song a feel akin to the synthesized soundtracks of the ‘80s. Other songs like “Palm Springs Reset” and “I’ll Try Not to Destroy You” are reminiscent of Depeche Mode with their subtly incorporated pianos and crooning vocals, while the distorted synth guitar and chanting chorus of “Flashpoint Riot” is perhaps the track most likely to remind listeners of Death to Analog.

In many ways, We’re Here With You may come across to some as a more commercially appealing record than the first album, full of quintessential electro beats and bass lines that seem tailor made for repeated club play. The atmospheres are quite chill, making for a less urgent but more relaxing album that may take some time to grow on fans of Death to Analog’s more caustic and innovative textures. Throughout the album, Ryan Shuck exhibits a cleaner vocal approach that allows him to show off his falsetto abilities, and credit should be given to Julien-K for taking the reigns to produce and release the album on its own terms, showcasing a singularly sensual musical experience. We’re Here With You is no sophomore slump and is certainly a fine piece of modern electro/rock from a rather exciting band.
 
Track list:

  1. We’re Here With You
  2. Surrounded by Cowards
  3. Cruel Daze of Summer
  4. Breakfast in Berlin
  5. Palm Springs Reset
  6. Colorcast
  7. Close Continuance
  8. Nights of Future Past
  9. Flashpoint Riot
  10. I’ll Try Not to Destroy You

 
Julien-K Website http://www.julien-k.com
Julien-K MySpace http://www.myspace.com/julienk
Julien-K Facebook https://www.facebook.com/julienk
Julien-K Twitter https://twitter.com/julienk
Julien-K ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/julienk
Julien-K SoundCloud http://soundcloud.com/officialjulienk
 
Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
 
2012-01-23
 
Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

4 Comments

  1. Rudi says:

    Great review! Nights of Future Past has been my favorite song from the album ever since I watched the youtube videos when they were playing it before the album was released. So much atmosphere in one track…The Deluxe version of WHWY comes out in Sept, with more remixes and unreleased tracks! Can’t wait!

  2. Damian G. says:

    I am somewhat disappointed with this sophomore release. Death to Analog ever since it was released remains on my playlist and I consider it a masterpiece of sensual, charged, modern electro-pop. This second album, I feel, shifts the balance between edgy electronica and indie rock in favour of the latter and in result Julien-K doesn’t sound as relentlessly erotic as they did before. I do understand this direction though, this push towards the broader, more mainstream audience- it’s completely logical for the band and they deserve every bit of success that We’re Here With You can get them.

    • Ilker Yücel says:

      You’re the second person to say this to me, LOL. But yes, I do agree with you.
      While I remember giving Death to Analog a slightly higher rating than We’re Here With You (which I stand by since I felt it was an innovative and very exciting, urgent, erotic record), it does feel in my mind (and this is somewhat confirmed by the band in the InterView we recently posted) a little too close to Orgy – not that it sounds like Orgy, but certain elements, certain songs, very reminiscent of Orgy at its best (and I don’t and never really have cared for Orgy apart from Vapor Transmission). We’re Here With You feels like the sound of Julien-K effectively differentiating itself and finding its own voice – even if it is more mainstream friendly, it’s still a very electronic, very chill, sexy, swinging, infectious vibe.

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