5-piece band July Talk are hard to define; indie pop/disco with strong undertones of rock may suffice for now, but the relatively new Canadian band seems to only just be feeling that out for themselves.
Their newest single Strange Habit, released ahead of their new album Touch (available 9th September), seems to hint at a more permanent footing stylistically. A slightly tamer track from the quintet, with less ragged words from the singer Peter Dreimanis provides a softer chain-smoking bittersweet lullaby. The use of synths on earlier tracks pulled the band into a new genre that seems to be sticking. It’s the ethereal indie pop of the big city, bringing culture and self-awareness to the small town organic rock and roll. Yet it’s not style over substance, and their dialogic structures and creative videos suggest a bright future for this talented and ambitious group. It’s just personal preference if you choose rock over pop; the titanic rumbles over the rough whispers.
To be honest, there’s no point trying to define them, or trying to reach for comparisons either; they’ve all already been made. It’s not a game of Snap with this band, but a game of Patience. July Talk have so much going for them: the fact that they span multiple genres; that Peter Dreimanis is bringing a more dated vocal tone into the 21st century; that there are two lead singers; and that they are seemingly part of a ‘concept’ band with a stated intent and direction. Dreimanis’ vision is for black and white call and responses of modern politics and social issues that are both stylish and intellectual. Even if you didn’t like the music, you could respect the band for its artistic creations.
But they are very hard not to like. In order to try and grapple together a definition, I listened to their diverse EP quite a few times, before realising their addictive hold. A mixture of pop-heavy and rock-heavy tracks, the band, compiled of the haunting vocals of Leah Fay, plus Dreimanis, guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton and drummer Danny Miles, certainly knows what it’s doing. The divide and contradiction that could be seen in the EP’s content is stamped out by these calculated and careful experiments. Great songs and catchy as hell, Guns + Ammunition and Push + Pull both reach an equilibrium between opposing genres, and also boast interesting music videos provided by artistically involved and committed band members (there is quite a feast of them on YouTube); expect more provocative videos and riotous live shows if these early efforts and the possessed stage presence of Dreimanis are anything to go by.
Cool indie vibes and blissful synths mixing with the sound of the hot American prairies; in fact, July Talk are anything but enigmatic. It’s only a matter of time before they gain the momentum they have reached in their native land here in the UK, with several September gigs happening in Glasgow, Manchester and London respectively. Who knows if they will receive the same kind of reception as in Canada, but there is certainly a gap in the market, and an empty spot in Peaky Blinders series 4 with their name on it, among the likes of Nick Cave and the Arctic Monkeys.