Julia with Blue Jeans On

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The second long-player under the Moonface moniker for mercurial Canadian multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Spencer Krug (Wolf Parade, Sunset Rubdown), the Jagjaguar-issued Julia with Blue Jeans On eschews the brooding and reductionist, synth-heavy art-pop of previous outings for an even more austere approach, offering up an evocative and emotionally present set of stripped-down asymmetrical love songs that pairs Krug's distinctive voice with a lone baby grand piano. As a lyricist, Krug has always struck a nice balance between erudite and hallucinatory, and standout cuts like the wistful first single “Everyone Is Noah, Everyone Is the Ark,” the languid, appropriately titled “Dreamy Summer,” the epic “Barbarian,” and the ardent title track, the latter of which expertly sums up the giddy yet brutal slap of infatuation (“I see you there at the bottom of the stairs/Obliterating everything I’ve ever written down”), capture the complex emotions of devotion, both real and imagined, in a way that’s both willfully poetic and hardened by reality. A classically trained ivory tickler, Krug's compositional style is as esoteric as his prose, lending an unpredictable musicality to the proceedings that allows the listener to forget that they’re essentially listening in on a very intimate solo performance. That sense of voyeurism permeates nearly every inch of the intoxicating Julia with Blue Jeans On, resulting in a listening experience that invokes names like David Ackles, Scott Walker, and Fred Neil, suggesting that Krug's newly swollen heart may have coincided with a shadowy, late-'60s and early-'70s songsmith's audio bender.

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