Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Single/EP Review - Julia And The Doogans - Diamonds


Wow.  It's not often the best way to start a review, but in this case a one word summary was the first thing that sprung to mind when listening to 'Diamonds', the title track from the new EP from Julia And The Doogans, and despite my best intentions I couldn't shift it.

Now thats out the way, I can begin to expand on my three letter review.  Julia Doogan, the leader of the merry band of Doogans, has an seemingly effortless ability to capture your attention with her spell binding voice.  I first heard Diamonds when the band supported Beerjacket at King Tuts back in January, and again when Julia was a guest on the Scottish Fiction Birthday Show.  At that time, I put the out of body experience to the small intimate settings, but listening to 'Diamonds' again Julia voice tempered with the haunting cello piano and flute provided by backing Doogans Renata, Jennifer and Alice cloaks me into a hazy mist where all that exists during that three minutes is this track.  'Diamonds' is delicate, touching and excellent executed.

The EP features four other tracks, which is a joy for those who have been waiting for new material since the 'Come Home' EP was released in May of 2010.  'Those Things' is full of sentiment, as sweet as the cupcakes which famously litter any Julia And The Doogans gig.  Speaking of which, Friday 13th April is the official launch gig for this EP, taking place at The Captain's Rest from 8pm.  £3 entry gets you in, and supporting is Shambles Miller and Dougie Greig.  Preorder tickets and/or the EP here.

Next track 'Answer' continues in much the same vein as 'Those Things'.  With delicate piano interludes it's reminds me slightly of a baby mobile that we had for my daughter when she was younger.  I mean that in a good way, akin to the dreamy state that such a device is intended to produce.  'Bound' is the penultimate track, again Doogan's vocals display such a warmth and comfort that I'm worried I might develop an unhealthy attachment the kind I've not had since I gave up 'blankie' at age 14.  It's worth mentioning, that the relax atmosphere these songs create would not be possible without the backing melodies provided by the cello, piano and flute.  The contributions may seem sparse and simple, yet each part is weighted perfectly and compliments and lifts the vocals well.

Closing track 'Down The Line' equals 'Diamonds' for the title of best track, yet it is a completely different song.  All the ingredients are the same, Doogan's charming voice, sweeping cello, floating flute and the piano tying everything together.  Yet the result proves that the band are far from your typical folk affair, and can create pop melodies with equal merit.  'Down The Line' is a song which offers hope and reconciliation, song in a tender manner, it's as close to perfect as I can imagine.

The EP is officially released on Monday 16th April.  Physical copies will be available priced £5 from the band's website and their Bandcamp (and you can snap them up at The Captain's Rest gig on Friday 13th too!)  The EP will also be available digitally via iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and most other online outlets. 

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