Julie and the Wolf
Audiogram - 2015
Julie and the Wolf are just the latest in a long line of leftfield musicians from the infinitely fertile fields of Montreal. The pair of pianist Julie and singer Wolf Merzbacher are about as incongruous as a duo can get, with the big bad Wolf having cut his teeth in the headbanging world of metal and the more diminutive, classically trained Julie having recently scored the Academy Award-winning short film The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. "[Our sound] is Julie's classical roots blended to my metal heritage," Merzbacher explained to the National Rock Review. "Julie comes up with all the music. Then I get the lyrics and vocal melodies down and then we meet up and blend it all together."
Ablaze, their debut disc on the long-running Quebec indie Audiogram, is a beguiling mix of brooding impressionism a la Satie or Debussy and silky, heartfelt vocals. There is a decidedly Gallic bent to these songs, especially Julie's wistful piano compositions, which sort of evoke the sombre, autumnal France that Henri Cartier-Bresson's photographs captured so powerfully all those years ago. This is especially true on brief instrumental interludes like the melancholic 'Reminiscent' and the equally forlorn 'Drama'. When Merzbacher enters the equation, the effects are equally arresting. His phrasing is for the most part highly theatrical, as much enunciated as sung, a trait he no doubt honed in his earlier metal days. The single, 'The Devil is the Man', is a fine example of this, with its pained chorus of "The devil is the man beside / the devil is the man inside". And, though the record is entirely in English, it all still manages to capture the alternating beauty and dread of la malaise.
Julie and the Wolf
The Soul Motivators
Dirt on the Floor EP
Alone and Gone: The Story of Toronto's Post Punk Underground
Joshua Van Tassel