Julian Drazilov has been writing songs for a long time. He’s been experimenting with different techniques and styles, and incorporating them to all types of recipes for songs. His latest album Spices is a testament to this great catalog of creativity. Julian borrows heavily from midwest emo, math rock, surf pop and indie lo-fi, but what sets him apart is that he uses all of them to varying degrees.
Each track in Spices is named after an herb or spice, which from my interpretation correlates specifically to a style or genre. Each one has a distinct flavor and sound, and is crafted with the same expertise as a master of that style. Calling him a jack-of-all trades would be an injustice, as each track can go toe to toe with the best of them.
Opener “Coriander” infuses lo-fi pop with airy vocals and dreamy riffs. Nostalgia glimmers as Julian narrates vignettes of memories — like a collection of dreams retrieved from old notebooks. “Pepper” is sprinkled with erratic math rock riffs and rhythms. Bree Delaney lends her voice in a washed out and flourishing haze of color. “Garlic” borrows from pop-punk and emo from the previous decades. Distortion and a heavier rock sound replaces the softness of the previous tracks. Drazilov surprises yet again by bringing in Cole Baker on a saxophone solo that blends perfectly well with his vocals.
My favorite track is the only instrumental in the bunch. “Rosemary” defies genre definition, and dissecting its elements is a treat I relish with every listen. A relaxing acoustic guitar melody is accompanied by an upright bass, uplifting swells and subtle sounds of dripping water. It feels like a relaxing stroll through nature, with no worries in sight. A relaxing change of pace that still meshes with the rest of the album.
Another standout is “Sugar”, which is a citrus flavored surf-rock jangle across a bright and sunny day. This song glows with so much optimism that it counteracts the gloom and introspection of its peers.
It may be tempting to call Spices a collage, but each track blends so well with the rest that you can still follow a theme at its core. At the risk of sounding cheesy, I’d say that the theme is genuine love of the craft. You can see how hard Julian has worked to get this level of proficiency in composition. He seems to be flexing on us, as if to say: “Look how many spices I got.” And I can’t help but nod in agreement as I hit the replay button.
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